(CNN) Only 29 people have experienced severe allergic reactions to the coronavirus vaccine, making it a rare outcome, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
In the first week and a half of the US Covid-19 vaccine effort, the CDC said there have been 21 additional confirmed cases of severe allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis, bringing the total cases to 29 out of 1.9 million doses administered.
That adds up to a rate of 11.1 cases of anaphylaxis out of 1 million doses administered, the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
By comparison, the rate of severe allergic reaction for the flu vaccine is 1.3 per 1 million doses.
“The anaphylaxis rate for Covid-19 vaccines may seem high compared to flu vaccines. But I want to reassure you that this is still a rare outcome,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told a news conference.
The allergic reactions all came within minutes of getting the vaccine, the CDC said.
The CDC has information on 20 of the 21 patients and they all recovered.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction, but with treatment usually resolves quickly.
The CDC so far has seen no evidence of geographic clusters of reactions and no hint there were any “bad” lots. The vaccines given to the people who had reactions did not come from the same lot.
Of the people who had the severe allergic reaction, 17 had a documented history of allergies, Messonnier said, including to drugs, medical products, foods and insects.
But such allergies are common and the number of reactions is very rare, so the CDC says people with general allergies should not worry about being vaccinated — but should consult a health care provider before doing so.
People with known severe allergic reactions to ingredients in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, including polysorbate and polyethylene glycol, should not get the vaccine, the CDC says.
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“During December 14–23, 2020, monitoring by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 1,893,360 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (11.1 cases per million doses); 71% of these occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination.” – CDC, January 6, 2021