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The COVID vaccine is just days to weeks away from becoming available to the first group of people in the United States. However, while the vaccine might be a safe and effective way to prevent the virus for most, there are a select group of people who should be cautious about going in for their shot. On Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, warned that those suffering from a particular health condition should be very careful when it comes to the vaccine. Read on to hear more about the warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Those With an "Underlying Allergic Tendency" Should Use Caution
"If I were a person that had an underlying allergic tendency, I might want to be prepared that I might get a reaction and therefore be ready to treat it," Dr. Fauci said during a talk with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta during "COVID-19: Chasing Science to Save Lives." He advised those dealing with it—"that they might be cautious about vaccination, or at least be prepared to respond with some sort of antidote to the allergic reaction."
Fauci broached the topic when asked if he was concerned about the two healthcare workers in the UK, who suffered a reaction shortly after receiving the vaccine on Tuesday. It led UK health authorities to warn that anyone with a "significant history of allergic reactions" should not be given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
"Well, it obviously is of some concern because there are people who have what's called allergic diathesis or a tendency to get allergic reactions. I believe that both of those individuals did in fact have that tendency," he explained.
However, he isn't surprised, as "these are the kinds of things that happen when you implement large vaccine programs."
"Remember we had 30,000 people in the Moderna trial and 44,000 people in the Pfizer trial. Once you start implementing the actual utilization of the vaccine in a clinical setting, you're talking about millions of individuals getting vaccinated. So you may start seeing effects in some that might not have been picked up when you were dealing with thousands," he continued.
He explained that the adverse reaction is "an unusual and rare effect." However, now that it is known, "we'll be looking at that and particularly taking care of people who do have underlying, allergic phenomenon." Not only will they be more cautious about vaccinating them, but additionally keeping "some sort of antidote to the allergic reaction" on hand to respond.
He also pointed out that this is a good example of why it is important to have a variety of vaccine platforms. "So if in fact, we do find out that there is a consistent issue of certain subset of people like those with allergic reactions, you'll always have other vaccine platforms that you can use and hopefully you will not see that with those other platforms," he said.
How to Survive This Pandemic
Keep in mind that thousands of other people received their first dose of the vaccine in the UK on Tuesday, without any allergic reaction whatsoever. As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place, since the vaccine isn't here yet: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.