The U.K.’s medicines regulator has warned England’s health service not to give the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people with a “significant” history of allergic reactions, after two people who received it on Tuesday developed reactions.
The advice comes just a day after hospitals began administering the vaccine to patients and medics on Tuesday, making the U.K. the first country to roll out a fully-tested vaccine. Other countries are expected to approve vaccines in the coming days.
A summary of the regulator’s advice, seen by TIME, says that any person with a history of significant allergic reactions to vaccines, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. It also says that vaccinations should only be carried out in places where resuscitation facilities are available.
While hospital trusts have been informed, the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has not yet announced the precautionary advice publicly. It is expected to issue a press release later today.
At a Parliamentary hearing on Wednesday morning, the chief of the U.K.’s medicines regulator said two people who received the vaccine on Tuesday had developed allergic reactions. Those two people, both medical staff, had histories of anaphylactoid reactions and have since recovered.
In a statement, Stephen Powis, national Medical Director for the NHS, said: “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 after two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely yesterday. Both are recovering well.”
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Contributor: Billy Perrigo