Ottawa: Health Canada has warned people allergic to any of the ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine not to receive it.
In a notification on Saturday, the federal health policy agency said it issued the warning after following up on the two reports of anaphylactoid reactions to the vaccine in the UK, Xinhua news agency reported.
The reactions occurred on December 8 and the two persons had a history of severe allergic reactions and carried adrenaline auto injectors.
They both were treated and have recovered.
“As vaccine roll-out begins in Canada, Canadians may be wondering about the risks of allergic reactions.
“In Canada, all vaccines carry a warning about the risk of serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, and immunization clinics are equipped to manage these rare events,” the agency said in the notification.
Health Canada listed the ingredients in the vaccine and it also urged individuals who have experienced a serious allergic reaction to another vaccine, drug, or food to speak with their healthcare professional before they receive the vaccine.
It said it has reviewed the available evidence related to the allergic reactions and has concluded the available public health guidance is appropriate and is not recommending any changes to the product’s use at this time.
It stressed that it will continue to monitor this situation closely.
“If any new safety issues are confirmed, Health Canada will take appropriate action, which could include communicating any new risks to Canadians and healthcare providers or changing the recommended use of the product,” the notification further said.
It said it has identified no major safety concerns for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and its benefits outweigh the risks.
“The side effects observed during clinical trials of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine are similar to those experienced with other vaccines, including pain at the site of injection, body chills, feeling tired and feeling feverish,” Health Canada said.
“These side effects will resolve on their own and do not pose a risk to health.”
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be on hand by the end of December to start the mass inoculation campaign in the country.
Pfizer was one of four vaccine candidates Health Canada has been evaluating, with assessment ongoing for the Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
In total, Canada has reportedly signed contracts guaranteeing access to 194 million doses of potential Covid-19 vaccines with the option to purchase 220 million more.
Canada has so far reported a total of 458,527 coronavirus cases and 13,367 deaths.