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CDC: The Vaccines Are Actually Pretty Safe, Folks

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There are mostly three types of news articles you see on the vaccines. The first is that rollout is slow, with the media blasting Republicans in charge and covering for Democrats in charge. The second is the distribution, especially when older folks are being left out. The third is about someone having an allergic reaction, which is hyped bigly, right?

CDC: With nearly 5 million Americans vaccinated, just 29 have had confirmed allergic reactions

The odds of a severe allergic reaction after COVID-19 vaccination are looking quite slim.

According to the first data released on allergic reactions after vaccination from the US Centers and Disease Control, only 29 cases of confirmed anaphylaxis have been reported among the 5 million Americans who have so far received shots from Moderna or Pfizer.

“Our vaccine safety systems haven’t picked up any worrisome signals,” the CDC’s Nancy Messonnier said on a call with reporters on Wednesday. “This means that right now, the known and potential benefits of the current COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the known and potential risks of getting COVID-19.”

The CDC is keeping track of bad vaccine reactions in a few different ways. One is a new texting system they’re using to ask patients about symptoms, after they receive their first (of two) shots. This new self-reporting goes hand in hand with the existing Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), which is co-managed by the CDC and FDA.

This doesn’t mean people won’t have regular allergy reactions, just few will have the really bad ones causing anaphylaxis. Eating scallops can cause that for me. The CDC is suggesting that people talk to the ones giving the vaccine, and hang around for 30 minutes if concerned.

Among the 21 people who had anaphylaxis after those initial shots in December, four had a past history of allergies to sulfa drugs, and two had egg allergies. Four patients had no history of allergies at all, and the majority had never had an anaphylactic reaction to anything before, making it tough to draw firm conclusions about what might’ve caused these occurrences.

Most of the reactions happened within 15 minutes after vaccination, which is why the CDC is recommending that providers have epinephrine at the ready (for treating allergic reactions) on site with vaccines.

Anaphylaxis is higher than with the regular flu shot, but, if you’re concerned, hang out. It’s worth it.


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