NEW YORK (Reuters) – The US Food and Drug Administration is investigating five allergic reactions that occurred to people in the United States this week following the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNtech SE, a top official said Friday. Said late
Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Dr. Peter Marks said at a press conference that allergies were reported in more than one state, including Alaska.
Marx also said that a chemical called polyethylene glycol (PEG) which is an ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine – as well as the authorized Modern Ink vaccine on Friday – causes “may be the culprit” reactions.
Marx said that an allergic reaction to pegs may be somewhat more common than previously understood.
The cases in Alaska were similar to the two reported in the UK last week.
The UK medical regulator has stated that anyone with a history of anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reactions to medication or food, should not be given the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine.
But the US Food and Drug Administration has said that most Americans with allergies must be safe to receive the vaccine. It said that people who have severe allergic reactions to the first vaccine or the ingredients in this particular vaccine should avoid taking the shot.
On Friday, the FDA said that individuals with a known history of severe allergic reactions to any component of the modern vaccine shot should not be given.
The regulator also requires that appropriate medical treatment for immediate allergic reactions should be available when the shot is administered in case of an anaphylactic reaction.
Pfizer could not immediately be reached for comment.
Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Diane Craft and Daniel Wallis