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Explainer: Allergic Reactions To Vaccines Rare, Short-Lived

According to experts, typical side effects for many vaccines include things like a sore arm from the shot, fever and muscle aches

Explainer: Allergic Reactions To Vaccines Rare, Short-Lived
Highlights
  • Allergic reactions to vaccines are not unexpected: Experts
  • People with egg allergies are sometimes advised not to get flu shot: Expert
  • It can take time to determine if side effects were caused by vaccine

London: Vaccines can sometimes cause allergic reactions, but they are usually rare and short-lived. British regulators are looking into reports of allergic reactions in two people who received the new Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday (December 8), the first day of a vaccination programme. In the meantime, they’re telling people to skip the vaccine if they’ve had a history of serious allergic reactions.

Also Read: India’s COVID-19 Vaccines Will Benefit Most Countries, Says Bhutan Ambassador Vetsop Namgyel

A look at allergic reactions to vaccines:

How Often Do They Happen?

Allergic reactions can occur with numerous vaccines and experts say they are not unexpected. In the Pfizer-BioNTech study of 42,000 people, the rate was about the same in those who got the coronavirus vaccine versus those who got a dummy shot. US Food and Drug Administration reviewers who examined the study’s safety data found that 137 — or 0.63 per cent — of vaccine recipients reported symptoms suggestive of an allergic reaction, compared to 111 — or 0.51 per cent — in the placebo group.

A 2015 study in the US examining the rate of anaphylaxis — a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction — found that it occurred about once per every million vaccine doses. The study evaluated children and adults who got vaccines against numerous diseases, including polio, measles and meningitis. “For the general population this does not mean that they would need to be anxious about receiving the vaccination,” said Stephen Evans, a vaccines expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He noted that even common foods can provoke severe allergic reactions.

Also Read: Lack Of Adequate Cold Chain Biggest Challenge In COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution: Report

Why Do These Reactions Happen?

Scientists say people can be sensitive to components in the shot, like gelatin or egg protein, or to the vaccine itself. People with egg allergies are sometimes advised not to get the flu shot, since that vaccine is mostly grown in chicken eggs.Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include a rash, skin irritation, coughing or trouble breathing. The exact ingredients used in Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine are proprietary and are not publicly disclosed. The vaccine uses a new technology, and is coated in lipid nanoparticles, which have been used in drugs.

What Are Other Side Effects?

Typical side effects for many vaccines include things like a sore arm from the shot, fever and muscle aches. In the Pfizer study, participants also reported fatigue, headache and chills. More serious side effects are reported to regulators or health officials for further investigation. But it can often take time to determine if the vaccine caused the side effect or if the person just coincidentally received the shot before becoming ill.

Also Read: National Expert Group On Vaccine Administration Working On Management Of COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out: Government

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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