Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau says the two workers showed adverse reactions about 10 minutes after receiving the vaccine and were treated. One received the vaccine Tuesday and will remain in the hospital another night under observation while the other, vaccinated Wednesday, has fully recovered.
U.S. health authorities warned doctors to be on the lookout for rare allergic reactions when they rolled out the first vaccine, made by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. Britain had reported a few similar allergic reactions a week earlier. That’s why vaccine recipients are supposed to be observed after getting the shot, in case they need immediate treatment.
The first Juneau health worker to report an adverse reaction was following those rules Tuesday when she began feeling flushed and short of breath, said Dr. Lindy Jones, emergency room medical director at Bartlett Regional Hospital.
She was treated with epinephrine and other medicines for what officials ultimately determined was anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. She was kept overnight but has recovered, Jones said.
Unlike the British cases, the Alaska woman had no history of allergic reactions. Jones said she remained "enthusiastic" about having taken the first dose of the vaccine. She is not expected to receive a second dose.
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The state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said Alaska doesn't plan to change its vaccine rollout.
"This is all kind of part of what we’ve been looking for and expecting," she said.