As of Dec. 17, two people in the UK and one in the US had severe allergic reactions to the shot. Although, they recovered, it doesn’t help but beg the question: how would happen in cases of extreme allergies? This prompted UK health officials to recommend that doctors monitor patients for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine to watch for reactions. Also noting that anyone with a history of anaphylaxis should not receive the vaccine.
Allergic reactions occur when a person is exposed to an allergen, a list of substances that can include anything from foods (nuts, shellfish, gluten) to other elements in the environment, such as pet dander, pollen, latex, or bee stings.
How does this happen? When an allergic person is exposed to this substance, their body perceives it as a threat, triggering an immune response that can range from mild inflammation to system-wide shock, depending on the severity of the allergy.
Most vaccines used for producing the drugs for flu are produced with eggs. So, anyone who’s allergic to eggs would get some sort of reaction.
No one’s sure yet what ingredient in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is causing these rare but significant allergic reactions. Some medical professionals suspect it’s an ingredient called polyethylene glycol (PEG). PEG is common in all sorts of products, from skincare to laxatives.
The good news is, if you get the vaccine and you have an allergic reaction to it, your anaphylaxis is likely treatable.