United States health officials are closely tracking the side effects of the Pfizer vaccine after at least a dozen cases of severe allergic reactions were reported.
Medical experts said that a chemical called polyethylene glycol (PEG), a compound most commonly used in laxatives, ‘could be the culprit’ causing the reactions.
PEG is an ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine as well as the Moderna Inc vaccine.
But the Food and Drug Administration has said that most Americans with allergies should be safe to receive the vaccine. It said only people who have previously had severe allergic reactions to vaccines or ingredients in this particular vaccine should avoid getting the shot.
Four health workers in Illinois experienced adverse reactions to the shots. The unidentified employees experienced reactions that included tingling and elevated heart rate just moments after taking the vaccine.
While three of the staff are recovering at home a fourth is receiving additional treatment.
Three health care workers in Alaska needed medical treatment after being administered the vaccine earlier this week while a hospital in suburban Chicago halted inoculations after four staffers reported adverse reactions.
Health officials are keeping close watch for such side effects.
US vaccine recipients are supposed to hang around after their injections in case signs of an allergy appear.
The CDC said all cases occurred within the recommended observation window and were promptly treated.
Many vaccines can cause temporary discomfort, such as a sore arm or certain flu-like symptoms.
COVID-19 vaccines tend to cause more of those reactions than a flu shot, and some hospitals are staggering the times their employees get vaccinated to avoid staffing problems.
Britain’s medical regulator has said that anyone with a history of anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reactions to a medicine or food, should not be given the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Americans can’t sue Pfizer, Moderna for adverse reactions:
No one could be blamed if someone develops an allergic reaction to the coronavirus vaccine, either from Pfizer or Moderna. This is what US lawyers have said.
The US government has given companies like Pfizer and Moderna ‘immunity’ from liability if something unintentionally goes wrong with their vaccines
“It is very rare for a blanket immunity law to be passed,” Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney was quoted as saying on CNBC.
“Pharmaceutical companies typically aren’t offered much liability protection under the law.”
In February, US’s Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. This law empowers the HHS secretary to provide legal protection to companies making or distributing critical medical supplies, such as vaccines. This protection lasts until 2024.
With this law, the vaccine companies cannot be taken to courts for damages over any casualties related to vaccine inoculation.
The coronavirus vaccines have been manufactured in record time. The process that takes a couple of years normally was stepped up and completed in less than a year as world faced a never-seen-before crisis.
“When the government said, ‘We want you to develop this four or five times faster than you normally do,’ most likely the manufacturers said to the government, ‘We want you, the government, to protect us from multimillion-dollar lawsuits,’” Dunn was quoted.