COVID-19 vaccine: WHO admits people may have allergic reaction

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the agency is aware that a small section of people (around one person in every one million people vaccinated) may have acute allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The reaction is known as anaphylaxis.

In a statement posted on its website on Tuesday, WHO stated that just like the way people react to other vaccines or drugs, they could also react to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The organisation disclosed that some people could react to the vaccine, especially those with a history of anaphylaxis to one of the vaccine constituents, which may have a higher risk of reaction following COVID-19 vaccination.

It added, “Similarly if the person provides a history of anaphylaxis with a previous dose of the same vaccine, he or she should be advised not to take the vaccine.”

The UN health agency made the clarification while reacting to a story published by The Observer with the title, ‘Allergic person advised not to take COVID-19 vaccination.’

According to the WHO statement, all vaccination sites should have a medical doctor or clinical officer with the necessary kit to address such reactions or any other adverse event following vaccination to manage the allergy.

“WHO recommends that before the first dose, clients should inform the vaccinating team about any allergic reaction they may have had in the past.

“This is a precautionary measure. The healthcare providers will then assess the patient’s medical history to determine if he or she is at risk of a severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine.

“All immunisation providers are trained to recognise severe allergic reactions and are knowledgeable about the practical steps needed to treat them.

“We encourage all those who are vaccinated to remain at the vaccination site for 30 minutes for observation.”

Meanwhile, around 14.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India have been delivered to 23 African countries under the COVAX initiative as of March 12.

Nearly 600,000 doses of the COVAX-funded AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered. 

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