Allergic reactions to Covid-19 vaccine ''not unexpected' says Jason Leitch, after two cases reported in England
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed there have been no reports of allergic reactions to the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Scotland, after two NHS workers in England had reactions on Tuesday.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a warning that people with a history of “significant” allergic reactions should not currently receive the jab.
Anyone now due to receive the vaccine will be asked about their history of allergic reactions.
Ms Sturgeon said on Wednesday: “We are not aware at this stage of anybody in Scotland having the severe reaction that has been reported in two people in England [...] what we’re talking about here are severe reactions and we have not had any of those reported in Scotland.
"If that was the case then that would be recorded through the normal processes as they have been in England.”
National Clinical Director Jason Leitch said the reactions were “not unexpected” and formed part of the mass vaccination process.
“We take this very very seriously as you would expect us to do,” he said.
"This is a rare event, but actually to the clinicians in the vaccine programme this is not entirely unexpected. I don't wish to seem cold, it is rare but not unexpected."
Professor Leitch said all four nations had been told by midnight on Tuesday, and were updated on calls overnight and on Wednesday morning about the new advice.
He added: “Pfizer have put out a precautionary note to say that we should make sure we ask every individual who is having a vaccine: ‘Have you ever had a reaction to a drug or food, a severe reaction that requires you to have adrenaline, that requires you to go to an accident and emergency department’.”
“For them, for now, until we see how the numbers work out over time, they will not be not be receiving this vaccine.”
The two NHS workers developed symptoms of “anaphylactoid reaction” shortly after receiving the vaccine, but both recovered after the appropriate treatment.
Pfizer said the vaccine was “well tolerated” during the trials with “no serious safety concerns”.