To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of whether there is potential risk to allergy sufferers of the covid-19 vaccination; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the availability of EpiPens in the event of an increased demand in response to the covid-19 vaccination.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
12 January 2021
As with any vaccine, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is contraindicated in those with hypersensitivity to any of the vaccine ingredients. Following two reports of anaphylaxis following the vaccine last week, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued further advice on 9 December that any person with a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and that vaccine recipients should be monitored for 15 minutes after vaccination, with a longer observation period when indicated after clinical assessment. A protocol for the management of anaphylaxis and an anaphylaxis pack must always be available whenever the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is given.
While our current recommendation for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine does not specify an exhaustive list of other potential sources of anaphylaxis which may be present in individuals’ histories, we would advise a cautious approach at present. This advice is under ongoing review and we will update it as more evidence becomes available.
Supplies of EpiPen and other adrenaline auto-injectors are available. All patients who require an adrenaline auto-injector should be able to obtain one from their pharmacy. We continue to work very closely with all the manufacturers of adrenaline auto-injectors to ensure enough supplies remain available for the patients who need them. All centres administering the COVID-19 vaccine are equipped with anaphylaxis kits. Anaphylaxis kits contain adrenaline ampoules and not EpiPens or other adrenaline auto-injectors. There are currently sufficient supplies of adrenaline ampoules to meet demand.