Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony is advising persons, as a precaution, to report to a medical officer any allergic reactions to vaccines before taking any of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Minister Anthony explained, “some people with MRNA vaccine they have an allergy to specific components of the vaccine. And again, if in your past medical history, you had an allergic reaction to these types of vaccines or the components within these vaccines, then you should let that person know. Outside of that, it’s quite safe for you to go take the vaccine.”
With vaccine administrations increasing throughout the country, persons with adverse reactions to the vaccines are rare, the minister said.
“There are many different types of allergies. Some people would have food allergies, some people have allergies to specific medicines but in the case of COVID-19, what is more important is if you have an allergy to a component that is in one of the vaccines.
“The main thing is to understand whether with a previous vaccination wherever you would have had an allergic reaction. And if you did have an allergic reaction to a vaccine, then that should be reported, because that’s important.”
Information from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows the components in vaccines include active immunising antigens, conjugating agents, preservatives, stabilisers, antimicrobial agents, adjuvants and culture media used in the preparation of the vaccine, as well as inadvertent contaminants that are introduced during vaccine handling.
Potential triggers of an allergic reaction from these components are culture derived proteins from egg, gelatin and yeast. Other sources of an allergic reaction are from antibiotics and vaccination antigens.
The most immediate allergic reactions are type-one hypersensitivity that occurs within minutes of exposure, within a four-hour span. Common symptoms include hives, swelling of the skin, nasal congestion, cough, stridor, wheezing, shortness of breath, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and hypotension.
If a person is allergic to any of the components listed above, an Immunoglobulin E or skin test should be conducted. If the result is positive, the vaccine should be administered in graded doses under observation. If the result is negative the administration is carried out as per normal with observations of patient after receiving their jabs.
Locally, after receiving the Covid vaccine, persons are observed by medical personnel for at least 15 minutes before leaving the vaccination site.