Allergist still recommends taking Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine even with allergies but with surveillance

UCF Professor of Medicine and immunologist breaks down what new warning out of U.K. means

Allergist and immunologist Dr. Jose Arias said he would still recommend his patients, even those with severe allergies, to take the new Pfizer vaccine, as long as they are being monitored closely by a doctor.

Arias, who is also a UCF Professor of Medicine, helped break down what the new Pfizer vaccine could mean for patients if the FDA approves an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine Thursday.

“You can do it one of two ways: you can either get it and just be monitored or wait until we know exactly what happened in these two studies,” Dr. Arias said.

Britain’s medical regulator warned Wednesday that people with a history of serious allergic reactions shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, and investigators looked into whether two reactions on the first day of the U.K.’s vaccination program were linked to the shot.

The advice was issued on a “precautionary basis,” and the people who had the reactions had recovered, said professor Stephen Powis, medical director for National Health Service in England.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they were working with investigators “to better understand each case and its causes.″

Dr. Arias got an email about the warning Wednesday morning.

“They are just telling me they are aware of it, they are investigating, that they don’t know the details. They don’t’ know why these people had an allergic reaction,” he added.

However, he said he is not surprised.

“It’s common with any vaccine,” Dr. Arias said. “As an allergy or immunology doctor I know that any vaccine can cause a reaction to any patient at any time - it’s part of  the vaccines. It’s normal, it can happen.”

However it was not known with the Pfizer vaccine because of the 42,000 people who were part of the clinical trials over the last several months, Dr. Arias said those with severe allergies were NOT included. Severe allergies meaning you are perscriped to carry an epinephrin auto-injector, like the common brand EpiPen.

“I looked it up and supposedly of the 42-thousand patients none of them had an epinephrin auto-injector with them,” Dr. Arias said. “If you carry an epinephrin injector, it’s for either medicine food or drugs.”

Dr. Arias said he would recommend patients with severe allergies could either hold off until more information is known about the two cases in U.K or he would have no problem administering the vaccine, with surveillance.

“With the new vaccine, I would recommend it to my patients,” Dr. Arias said. “I will have them sign a consent form. The consent will include the ingredients. I will list the vaccine is preservative free and make them wait in my office.”

When asked if he still trusts the Pfizer vaccine.

“I do, I mean this is a normal reaction,” Dr. Arias said. “If you don’t have an epinephrin auto-injector there should not be any restrictions on the vaccine.”