A doctor in Boston was the first to experience an allergic reaction to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, reported The New York Times on Friday. He has since recovered.
This is the first reported allergic reaction to the Moderna vaccine in the world. The mRNA-based vaccine was rolled out across the US this week. It is the second one approved in the US; the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has already been administered to more than a million people.
There have also been cases of allergic reaction reported after the Pfizer vaccine was given, which are being investigated by health authorities.
The Moderna case was recorded in a geriatric oncologist, Dr Hossein Sadrzadeh, at Boston Medical Center. He had a severe reaction almost immediately after being vaccinated.
“After I got the vaccine, I felt tachycardic, but I felt like it was probably anxiety because I was scared after learning about Pfizer’s reactions in the US, especially with those people who have shellfish allergies, like me,” said Dr Sadrzadeh.
He added: “My heart rate was 150, my normal heart rate is 75 but…six, seven minutes after the injection of the vaccine, I felt in my tongue and also my throat having, like, some weird sensation of tingling and numbness, the same reaction that I had before to my shellfish allergy. ”
He used his EpiPen when his blood pressure dropped, after which he was rushed to the emergency room.
Spokesperson for Boston Medical Center David Kibbe said Dr Sadrzadeh “was taken to the Emergency Department, evaluated, treated, observed and discharged. He is doing well today.”
Moderna has not yet commented on the incident. The US Food and Drug Administration has not issued a statement either.
Earlier, the Centres for Disease Control had released guidelines about both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and allergic reactions:
“Severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any component of the vaccine is a contraindication to vaccination for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
“Anaphylactic reactions in persons who received Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials have been reported. While these reports are further investigated, CDC considers a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any other vaccine or injectable therapy (e.g., intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous) as a precaution, but not a contraindication to vaccination for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines (as these vaccines contain ingredients in common).”
People with allergies can still get the vaccine after counselling and weighing the costs and benefits, the CDC advised.