On Dec. 22, 2020, a patient at Decatur Morgan Hospital in Decatur, Alabama suffered a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis just minutes after receiving Pfizer/BioNTech’s experimental messenger RNA (mRNA) BNT162b2 vaccine for COVID-19.1 2 3
In a press release, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) stated the patient, who reportedly had a history of allergic reactions, was “immediately treated with anaphylaxis protocol at Decatur Morgan Hospital where the vaccine was administered” and was in stable condition and appeared to be recovering. “As required by the emergency use authorization (EUA) the adverse reaction has been documented and reported to the manufacturer,” the ADPH confirmed.1 2 3
According to Karen Landers, MD of the ADPH, examples of anaphylaxis symptoms, which can be life-threatening, are tightness in the chest, coughing, wheezing, swelling of the lips and tightness in the throat.4 5 The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) notes that other symptoms of anaphylaxis may include hives, hypotension (low blood pressure) and shock.6
Multiple Cases of Anaphylaxis After COVID-19 Vaccination Reported in U.S.
There have been multiple reports of anaphylaxis in following administration of the first of two scheduled doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine during the past month and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating these cases to determine the cause of the severe allergic reactions.7 8 9 10
Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, has suggested the “culprit” behind the reactions could be a chemical ingredient called polyethylene glycol (PEG)—a polymer derived from petroleum used as an excipient (a diluting agent) in both the BNT162b2 vaccine and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine known as mRNA-1273.7 11 12
On Dec. 23, another case of anaphylaxis following vaccination with the BNT162b2 vaccine was reported in New York City. The case involved a health care worker who suffered a “significant allergic reaction.” The individual, who works for the Mount Sinai Health System, was reported to be in stable condition and recovering.13 14 15 16
Click here to view References:
1 Mahan A.First reported severe allergic reaction following COVID vaccine happens in Decatur. WAFF 48 Dec. 23, 2020.
2 Rayburn J, Borrelli S. Person Suffers Severe Allergic Reaction After Getting Coronavirus Vaccine at Decatur Morgan Hospital. WAAY 31 Dec. 23, 2020.
3 Whites-Koditschek S. Alabama patient recovering after allergic reaction to COVID vaccine. AL.com Dec. 23, 2020.
4 Fambro C. ADPH explains COVID-19 vaccine allergy is rare. 6 WBRC Dec. 23, 2020.
5 Balentine JR. Severe Allergic Reaction (Anaphylactic Shock). eMedicineHealth Aug. 20, 2020.
6 What is Polio Vaccine? National Vaccine Information Center.
7 Axelrod T. FDA investigating allergic reactions to Pfizer vaccine reported in multiple states. The Hill Dec. 19, 2020.
8 Fisher BL. Over 3,000 “Health Impact Events” After COVID-19 mRNA Vaccinations. The Vaccine Reaction Dec. 22, 2020.
9 Sun-Times Wire. Vaccinations resume at Condell Medical Center after pause following negative reactions. Chicago Sun Times Dec. 19, 2020.
10 WGN Web Desk. Advocate Condell Medical Center temporarily pauses vaccinations after 4 employees experience reactions. WGN 9 Dec. 19, 2020.
11 Polyethylene glycol. Wikipedia.
12 Moore S. What is Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)? News-Medical.Net.
13 Eyewitness News. NYC health care worker suffers ‘significant allergic reaction’ to COVID vaccine. Eyewitness News 7 Dec. 23, 2020.
14 Hicks N, Steinbuch Y. NYC health care worker has city’s first allergic reaction to COVID-19 vaccine. New York Post Dec. 23, 2020.
15 Honan K, Vielkind J. New York City Health-Care Worker Has Severe Adverse Reaction to Covid-19 Vaccine. The Wall Street Journal Dec. 23, 2020.
16 Williams J. New York health care worker experiences serious adverse reaction to coronavirus vaccine. The Hill Dec. 23, 2020.