10 cases of allergic reactions reported from 4m Moderna doses
Severe allergic reaction to Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is “rare,” US health authorities said Friday, with only 10 cases arising from more than four million first doses. Meanwhile Pfizer announced that it will provide up to 40 million of its Covid-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries on a non-profit basis, through the globally-pooled Covax facility.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasised that widespread vaccination was critical to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
“Based on this early monitoring, anaphylaxis after receipt of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine appears to be a rare event,” the CDC said in a report, indicating that none of the reactions resulted in death.
The CDC data documented the 10 cases of anaphylactic shock among a reported 4,041,396 first doses administered between December 21 and January 10.
They were recorded among 108 possible allergic reactions, the CDC said, with six of the cases requiring hospitalization, while the other four were treated in an emergency department setting.
The numbers represent 2.5 cases of anaphylactic shock per one million Moderna injections, compared with 11.1 cases per one million Pfizer injections, according to the CDC study.
“The clinical and epidemiologic characteristics of anaphylaxis case reports after receipt of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine are similar to those reported after receipt of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine,” the CDC said.
Of the 10 severe cases, all were women, aged 31 to 63, and nine had a history of prior allergic reaction, although not to vaccines.
A heavily female ratio was also noted with the Pfizer vaccine, which experts say could be due to the fact that more women than men have been vaccinated, at a rate of approximately two to one. Symptoms began within 15 minutes after injection for nine of the Moderna shot recipients, and after 30 minutes for one.
Vaccination sites must be equipped and able to treat severe allergic reaction, and able to transport patients to the hospital if necessary, the CDC said.
Developing countries should have “the same access to vaccines as the rest of the world”, Pfizer chairman Albert Bourla told a virtual press conference.
“We will provide the vaccine to Covax for these countries at a not-for-profit basis.
While dozens of the world’s richer countries have begun their vaccination campaigns in a bid to curb the pandemic, coronavirus jabs have been few and far between in the world’s poorer nations.
Covax, the globally-pooled coronavirus vaccine procurement and equitable distribution effort, aimed at ensuring that lower-income countries get hold of doses too, is hoping to ship its first deliveries in February.
Covax is co-led by the World Health Organization and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one so far to have received emergency use approval from the WHO.
Set up last year, Covax initially aimed to secure enough Covid-19 vaccines this year for the most vulnerable 20% in participating countries.
Gavi chief executive Seth Berkley said nearly 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine were ready to ship through Covax, pending emergency use approval from the WHO, which is on course to happen in mid-February.
He said Covax should be able to deliver those doses in the first quarter of 2021. Covax still needs to finalise a supply agreement for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Berkley said Covax could procure 2.3 billion vaccine doses this year, which, he said, would equate to close to 1.8 billion doses for the poorest 92 countries — enough to vaccinate about 27% of the population, an upgrade on the initial target.
Doctors Without Borders said the 40 million doses offered to Covax by Pfizer were a drop in the ocean and a lamentable “pittance” compared to the direct deals it has struck with high-income countries.
“We call on pharmaceutical corporations like Pfizer and its peers to supply the Covax facility with the volumes it needs at an at-cost price,” the medical charity’s Dana Gill said in a statement.
“If the world is going to emerge from this pandemic, we absolutely must distribute these vaccines equitably, not based upon who can pay the most.”