Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that occurs rarely after vaccination. Early safety monitoring of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after reported administration of 1,893,360 first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Most anaphylaxis cases had symptom onset within 30 minutes of vaccination and most persons with anaphylaxis had a history of allergies or allergic reactions, including some with previous anaphylaxis events.
Locations administering COVID-19 vaccines should adhere to CDC guidance for use of COVID-19 vaccines, including screening recipients for contraindications and precautions, having the necessary supplies available to manage anaphylaxis, implementing the recommended post-vaccination observation periods, and immediately treating suspected cases of anaphylaxis with an intramuscular injection of epinephrine.
The charts here support the need for a minimum 15-minute observation period of post-vaccine and 30 minutes for people with a history of allergies. Communities across the country are administering COVID-19 vaccines to their residents in the comfort of their “homes”. Be sure that you are adhering to all safety precautions and following CDC guidance on being prepared for anaphylaxis/adverse events, don’t cut corners, and don’t shorten observation times! Stay the course, stay well, mask up, get vaccinated, and stay tuned.