An Oregon health care worker is hospitalized after suffering a severe allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the person works at Wallowa Memorial Hospital, located in Enterprise, Wallowa County.
The unidentified worker received the first dose of the vaccine this week. However, after experiencing anaphylaxis, he was admitted to a hospital, the agency detailed in a statement dated Dec. 31, 2020.
The Mayo Clinic describes anaphylaxis as a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. It can affect various organs such as the skin, nose, mouth, throat, chest, heart, gastrointestinal tract and/or the nervous system.
Signs of this reaction may include difficulty breathing, fast heartbeat, and dizziness.
The adverse event in Oregon is one of the first reported about the Moderna vaccine.
Last week a Boston health care worker also experienced a severe allergic reaction after receiving the vaccine from the U.S. biotechnology company.
“My heart rate was 150. My normal heart rate is 75, but … six, seven minutes after the injection of the vaccine, I felt in my tongue and also my throat having, like, some weird sensation of tingling and numbness,” detailed Dr. Hossein Sadrzadeh.
Dr. Sadrzadeh, who has a history of allergies, said that his blood pressure dropped so much that it could not be detected with a monitor. That’s when he decided to use his EpiPen, and then the staff rushed him to the emergency room.
The OHA has warned that “those who have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to a vaccine or injectable therapy for any disease should ask their health care provider if they should get a COVID-19 vaccine.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized that some people have experienced severe allergic reactions after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
The agency cautioned that people who have experienced a severe allergic reaction to any licensed vaccine component should not get them. If people experience a reaction to the first dose (people are supposed to get two doses, spaced 21 days apart), they should not get the second dose.
Although COVID-19 vaccines are licensed for emergency use, they were the fastest licensed vaccines in history, raising concerns about safety and possible unintended adverse effects.
Volunteers in the Moderna vaccine trial experienced various side effects, including fatigue, headache, and chills. Severe adverse reactions were reported in approximately 1 percent of trial participants. Five people died, three of whom received a placebo, according to trial results released this week.
According to CDC records, since the U.S. vaccination campaign began, thousands of people have experienced adverse effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Some adverse reactions are detailed in the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
For example, a 40-year-old woman in Alaska received the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 17, even though she had a history of a severe allergic reaction to the influenza vaccine.
She developed a “throat tightening” for about 20 minutes. She had to receive an EpiPen and was sent to the emergency room.