Moderna COVID-19 vaccine rarely caused severe allergic reaction: CDC report

Of the over 4 million people who were given Moderna’s vaccine from December 21, 2020 to January 10, 2021, only 10 beneficiaries developed severe allergies, CDC report says.

January 24, 2021 / 04:30 PM IST
Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released by the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has caused very few severe allergic reactions, so far.

Of the over four million people administered Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine from December 21, 2020 to January 10, 2021, only 10 beneficiaries developed anaphylaxis after vaccination, the CDC report says.

This means the Moderna vaccine caused life-threatening allergic reactions in only 2.5 beneficiaries per million.

“Based on this early monitoring, anaphylaxis after receipt of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine appears to be a rare event,” the report says.

Though it remains unclear what caused the severe allergies in the 10-odd cases, nine of those happened to vaccine beneficiaries with previously known allergies, including five past cases of anaphylaxis. Most of these vaccinees had earlier experienced allergies to multiple medicines.

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Nine out of the 10 patients developed symptoms like wheezing, nausea, vomiting, rashes, and tongue swelling within 13 minutes of getting the shot. Only one person developed the symptoms 45 minutes after getting vaccinated.

All the 10 persons who developed severe allergic reactions were treated with epinephrine and recovered in no time, says the report.

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Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 24, 2021 04:28 pm

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