New Zealand’s medicines regulator has published its first report on adverse reactions experienced by New Zealanders
getting the Pfizer Covid-19 jab.
There were three serious cases reported out of the more than 15,000 doses given from 20 February to 6 March. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said
this afternoon that all three serious cases were considered allergic reactions and were managed appropriately, and that
one of them was classified as an anaphylactic reaction.
The SMC asked experts to comment.
Associate Professor James Ussher, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, comments:
“The range of adverse events reported are consistent with those noted during the clinical trials and post marketing
surveillance of the Pfizer vaccine.
“To date, a staggering 689 million doses of vaccine (a substantial proportion of which is the Pfizer vaccine) have been
administered globally, with ongoing monitoring of safety by regulatory agencies.
“Allergic reactions to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are rare but reported. Vaccinators are trained in the management of
allergic reactions. As noted in the report, these reactions were appropriately managed in the clinic and did not require
Conflict of interest statement: Associate Professor Ussher is Science Director of the Government-funded Vaccine Alliance
Aotearoa New Zealand – Ohu Kaupare Huaketo, a partnership between the University of Otago, the Malaghan Institute and
Victoria University of Wellington. He is also on the Government Vaccine Taskforce’s Science and Technical Advisory
Dr Fran Priddy, Clinical Evaluation Director, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, and Clinical Director Vaccine
Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand – Ohu Kaupare Huaketo, comments:
“Anaphylaxis after vaccination is very rare, but it is known to occur with any vaccine. For both mRNA COVID-19 vaccines
currently in use globally, Pfizer and Moderna, anaphylaxis does appear to be associated with vaccination, however it is
still very uncommon. These cases are not unexpected, especially with a large vaccination campaign.
“While anaphylaxis is serious, it is treatable. COVID-19 vaccinations are being given in settings prepared to treat
anaphylaxis if it occurs. The fact that New Zealand is reporting adverse event information is good news, as it means
that the safety follow-up systems is working transparently and the vaccination campaign is really getting underway. Good
news for New Zealand.”
Conflict of interest statement: Dr Priddy is Clinical Director of the Government-funded Vaccine Alliance Aotearoa New
Zealand – Ohu Kaupare Huaketo, a partnership between the Malaghan Institute, the University of Otago and Victoria
University of Wellington.