Do not take Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine if you have a ‘significant history of allergic reactions,’ UK regulator warns

The UK’s medicines and healthcare regulator has urged people with a history of ‘significant’ allergic reactions not to opt for the Pfizer vaccine, after two NHS medics, vaccinated on Tuesday, experienced severe reactions.

Professor Stephen Powis, the national medical director for the NHS in England, said on Wednesday that the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had issued a warning about the administering of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. 

As is common with new vaccines, the MHRA have advised, on a precautionary basis, that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination.

The warning comes after two NHS staff members, who were vaccinated on Tuesday as part of the UK’s first day of vaccine roll-out, experienced adverse reactions to the jab. 

Powis noted that “two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely yesterday. Both are recovering well.” 

The NHS said that all hospitals had been informed and would be asking everyone scheduled to receive the vaccine whether they have a history of such reactions. 

Dr June Raine, the head of the MHRA, told a joint select committee hearing on Wednesday that “real-time vigilance” would continue as the vaccine is rolled out. 

Tuesday marked the first day of the UK’s mass vaccination programme, in what has been touted as a watershed moment in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

So far, the British regulator has only approved the US’s Pfizer jab, but Health Minister Matt Hancock suggested on Tuesday that the UK’s AstraZeneca vaccine may receive approval this year.