Saturday, November 27

Ask for an alternative to mRNA vaccines after health worker anaphylactic reaction

As the team of five million arrive at vaccination centers every day to receive their vaccinations, a small group is unable to receive Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine.

NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 13: New Yorkers 12 and older are vaccinated at Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in the Bronx of New York City, USA on June 13, 2021 .

Photo: AFP

They are not conspiracy theorists or anti-vaccines. They just need an alternative to Pfizer because of an ingredient in the mRNA vaccine that allows it to be stored at very low temperatures without freezing.

Emma, ​​an immunosuppressed first-line healthcare worker, is among those unable to receive mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer and Moderna.

She said she was particularly concerned about the Delta variant of Covid-19 and its potential for exposure at work.

But her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine sent her to the hospital, and receiving another was life-threatening.

“I had the dose, within five minutes I broke out in hives. I went home after half an hour or so, but as soon as I got home my throat started to swell and I had to go to the hospital,” he said.

“I had at least two EpiPens and high doses of steroids and antihistamines, enough to knock people out. Then I had to spend the night in the hospital.”

As a result of the anaphylactic reaction, an immunologist had told her not to give herself a second dose, leaving her vulnerable to the virus.

The studies showed between two and 11 cases of anaphylaxis for every million doses of mRNA vaccine administered.

Unfortunately for Emma, ​​she was one of them.

“As part of my role, I’m in and out of a waiting room gathering young people to go and meet with them all day, every day. And what Delta has shown is that you can be vaguely in the same space, so that you can just have to be next to someone and the door is open, and you can catch it, right? That is a little scary “.

Alternatives were available, such as the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines, and they had even been approved for use in New Zealand.

But the government has so far been committed to a Pfizer-first and Pfizer-only strategy.

Emma wondered where that left her.

“If they really care about the Aotearoa people and vaccinate, and they really protect us against Covid-19, they really need to prioritize getting these alternative vaccine brands,” he said, referring to the government.

The director of the Malaghan Institute, Professor Graham le Gros, said cases like Emma’s demonstrated why rulers shouldn’t have all their eggs in one basket.

“From what I understand the government has previously purchased both the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, Medsafe has given their approval and there is no reason why they shouldn’t bring it in, either for the emergency or for these cases where it can actually help some people who have a specialized response to Pfizer. “

Vaccine scientist Helen Petousis-Harris, a member of the government’s Covid-19 immunization implementation advisory group, said that while reactions like Emma’s were incredibly rare, other options were being considered.

“The only people who really can’t receive the [mRNA] vaccine are people who have already had an anaphylactic reaction to a dose or have had an anaphylactic reaction to something in the vaccine itself. So a very, very small group, “he said.

“In fact, we are anticipating the delivery of an alternative vaccine, so it is very likely that this is a suitable vaccine option for these few people.”

Dr. Petousis-Harris was referring to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or Janssen as it was also known, which was approved by Medsafe in early July.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at the time that the cabinet would decide in August on its use.

But that had now changed to September.

“So far, the cabinet has approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine in New Zealand for those over 12 years of age and will consider the use of Janssen in September,” he said in a statement to RNZ.

“The Ministry of Health is currently working on plans to be able to distribute the Janssen vaccine, where it is needed, once it has been approved. At the time, Janssen is indicating that we can expect deliveries in the fourth quarter of the year.

“It is understood that the number of vaccine doses required in New Zealand as an alternative to mRNA is on a small scale.

“My message to [Emma] is to thank you for receiving your first dose. The government is committed to making vaccines available to everyone in New Zealand before the end of the year. “

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