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Coronavirus: Vaccination

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 143137, tabled on 25 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the contraindication to receiving a covid-19 vaccine applied to people having previously experienced anaphylaxis has been removed for those patients if they receive the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine; and whether those people can be recommended to receive that vaccine in lieu of the Pfizer vaccine.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

1 February 2021

Neither the Pfizer nor Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines should be given to those who have had a previous systemic allergic reaction, including immediate-onset anaphylaxis, to a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine or any component of the vaccine.

The Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 contains polyethylene glycol (PEG). PEGs are a group of known allergens commonly found in medicines, many household products and cosmetics. Known allergy to PEG is very rare but would contraindicate receipt of this vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccine does not contain PEG and may be used as an alternative. Whether PEG is the cause of reactions in patients with systemic allergic symptoms after the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is unclear. Such patients may be considered for a second dose using the AstraZeneca vaccine and should be observed for 30 minutes following vaccination.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.