'Severe allergic reaction' in 21 vaccinated people

"Our people don't have to pay a single cent for the vaccine", said Mr Zheng. However, the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be "an important tool in efforts to control the pandemic".

The firm did not break down the number of doses for each of the two vaccines used in the emergency program.

The CDC on Wednesday released its latest count of side effects suffered by more than 5.3 million people who have been vaccinated.

In a report on COVID-19 released on Wednesday, the CDC says about 1.9 million people had received the vaccine developed by United States company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech as of December 23.

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Almost 140 000 people in Hebei province have taken COVID-19 vaccine doses, said Cui Gang, a National Health Commission official, part of China's vaccination scheme targeting specific groups of high infection risk. "But we're in the setting of 2,000 COVID-19 deaths per day, [so] the risk from COVID-19 and poor outcomes from COVID-19 are still higher" than the risk for anaphylaxis following vaccination.

The cause of the reaction in response to the vaccines remains unknown.

Of the 21 cases reviewed in MMWR, 18 had documented allergies or allergic reactions to drugs, medical products, food, or insect stings, and seven had experienced anaphylaxis in the past, including one following a rabies vaccine and one following an influenza A (H1N1) vaccine.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include a skin rash, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing and shock. Most individuals are observed for 15 minutes after vaccination.

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The agency recommends that people not receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if they have a known allergy to an ingredient in these vaccines, including polyethylene glycol; and people should not receive a second dose if they have a serious reaction to the first.

The CDC said it will continue to monitor for adverse events, including anaphylaxis, and will regularly assess the benefits and risks of vaccination.

Vaccine facilities are also urged to be prepared to treat patients for anaphylaxis and have epi pens available in case they are needed. Of that total, over 7 million were administered since mid-December.

In comparison, the typical season flu vaccine sees 1.3 cases of anaphylaxis per 1 million recipients, she said.

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They noted that, as of now, 29 confirmed cases of anaphylaxis are reported with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. "I don't think we have anything definitive to say, there's a lot of hypothesis about it but at this point, our recommendations for this apply to both vaccines", she added.

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