Covid vaccine: GP's advice for people with allergies

9 December 2020, 15:44

By Fiona Jones

Royal College of GPs vice chair Dr Michael Mulholland gives LBC the latest advice on the Covid vaccine, after two people experienced an allergic reaction.

Two NHS staff members who received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday are recovering well after suffering an allergic reaction.

It is understood that both the staff members had a significant history of allergic reactions - to the extent where they need to carry an adrenaline auto injector with them.

Following the incident, regulators issued a warning that people who have a history of "significant" allergic reactions should not currently receive the jab following the incident, a guideline Dr Michael Mulholland reiterated.

He said, "Anyone with a significant history of an allergic reaction would be wise to inform and probably not have this vaccine at this time until the MHRA have been able to assess it further and be more specific for this particular group of patients."

Dr Mulholland encouraged people who have had a reaction of any kind to come forward to their doctor which they can then check against MHRA guidance.

"We're on day two of the Pfizer vaccine being used for the first time worldwide and we have a very small number and hence the caution. As soon as anything has come up, it's been recognised and immediately fed up through the system to the experts who've been able to give advice very quickly," he said, explaining that as more data and information is accumulated about the vaccine, the more definite guidelines will be.

Dr Mulholland reassured that the vaccine has been rolled out with "enormous care" and each person's reaction is being monitored - if there are any adverse reactions, they are being fed back into the system immediately.

"The MHRA have done all the necessary safety checks during the production of the vaccine and have regulated, so it is safe to have," he said, "we know more about it then we did yesterday."

Shelagh pointed out that this vaccine is intended to garner an immune response so the NHS workers have had a stronger response.

"If events like this do happen, GPs, the teams, other healthcare professionals delivering the vaccine know what to do. It's in the safety guidance we've received, we know how to manage anaphylaxis and anaphylactoid reactions with adrenaline and we have the equipment available to do it quickly, if something did occur," he said.