How common is it to have a serious allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?

8 On Your Side

TAMPA (WFLA) – It’s rare but it can happen, a bad reaction to Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. 8 On Your Side is looking into two reports of negative reactions in Alaska.

Within ten minutes of getting the shot, the health care workers saw bad side effects. One felt lightheaded with a scratchy throat and was back to normal within an hour. But the other, a middle-aged woman with no history of allergies, experienced shortness of breath, an elevated heart rate, and a rash. Officials say she was hospitalized for two nights.

Both negative reactions happened almost immediately about ten minutes after receiving the vaccine and while this does increase the concern about the vaccine, health experts say, the good far outweighs the bad.

So could you have a bad reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?

We asked Dr. John Greene, the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Moffitt.

“We know that with vaccines you could have one in 100,000 to one in a million people having an allergic reaction,” said Dr. Greene. “If they’re going to vaccinate 300 million people, you could have 300 to 3,000 allergic reactions.”

While the allergic reaction could be deadly, Dr. Greene says, at each vaccination site, there’s a life saving kit with medicine to open up airways.

“The Epinephrine, the Benadryl and steroid immediately opens things up and reverses that,” said Dr. Greene.

If you have a history of allergic reactions, you’ll need to talk to your doctor first.

“If you get the flu shot and have no serious worries or concerns, then you should have no serious concerns with this,” said Dr. Greene.

Dr. Greene had the first shot of the vaccine this week.

“Everything went well,” said Dr. Greene. “I didn’t feel any different and the needle was just like the flu shot to me.”

There were two similar cases out of Britain. However, everyone that has had a negative reaction to the vaccine has received standard treatment for allergic reactions – and recovered.

Right now, researchers are trying to figure out what component of the vaccine is causing negative reactions.

Dr. Greene says we could possibly see more negative reactions when people take the second dose of the vaccine.

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