It was bound to happen. Every vaccine brings with it the possibility of side effects and the new coronavirus vaccines are not an exception to that rule. As it turns out, some reports of side effects are already being reported after the initial rollout this week. Reports of side effects are being reported in Alaska and in Illinois. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating cases in multiple states.
The head nurse of a hospital in Tennessee fainted after taking the vaccine on live television as she took questions from the press. She later said her reaction was not from ingredients in the vaccine but that it is a common reaction to pain for her. She has a condition that causes her to faint when she experiences pain. “It’s common for me.” I’ll take her at her word.
WATCH: Nurse passes out on live TV after taking vaccine in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Nurse Manager Tiffany Dover was okay and spoke again with local station WTVC, saying she has a condition where she often faints when she feels pain.
“It’s common for me,” she said. pic.twitter.com/wqUhX577vc
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 18, 2020
In Juneau, Alaska two health care workers experienced reactions to the vaccine. In Fairbanks, a clinician came down with anaphylactic symptoms 10 minutes after receiving Pfizer’s shot. The clinician was treated with epinephrine and released from the hospital about six hours later.
Two health care workers in Juneau suffered adverse reactions to the medication earlier this week. One was briefly hospitalized in that city for anaphylaxis after she was vaccinated on Tuesday. The second had a milder reaction on Wednesday and was treated at the hospital emergency room and released.
The Fairbanks clinician issued her own statement that was included in the Foundation Health Partners release.
‘I would get the vaccine and recommend it to anyone, despite my reaction, to help our country get immunized which is needed for the health of all Americans, for the economy, get families hugging again, for getting children back to schools, and to get the country on the other side of this pandemic,’ the health worker said.
Four employees of a hospital north of Chicago suffered from tingling and elevated heart rates after taking the vaccine. Three are now at home and one remains in the hospital for additional medical treatment. The hospital has temporarily halted vaccinating its workers.
Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. – about 39 miles north of Chicago – temporarily paused injections of the Pfizer vaccine out of an abundance of caution, officials said in a statement. But the organization’s other sites, including eight more in Illinois and three in Wisconsin, were continuing vaccinations without disruption, officials told FOX 32.
The medical center noted that the four affected employees represent only a small fraction of the organization’s 3,000 employees who have been vaccinated since the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine became available earlier this week.
The FDA is investigating allergic reactions to Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said one of the things the agency does best is getting to the bottom of adverse reactions to vaccines.
“We are working hand in hand with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and we’ve actually been working closely with our United Kingdom colleagues, who of course reported the allergic reaction. I think we’ll be looking at all the data we can from each of these reactions to sort out exactly what happened, and we’ll also be looking to try to understand which component of the vaccine might be helping to produce them,” Marks said.
“I think we have at this point the right … mitigation strategy with the availability of treatment for a severe allergic reaction being at the ready, and we’ll continue to monitor it very closely,” he added.
Marks said the FDA was not certain what caused the reactions but indicated a chemical called polyethylene glycol, which is present in the vaccines produced by Pfizer and BioNTech as well as by Moderna “could be the culprit.” He added that the reaction some people have experienced could be more common than once thought.
“We’ll obviously be monitoring very closely what’s going on. We’re working very closely with the CDC on these, and there have been meetings between the CDC and FDA pretty much every day this week making sure we’re keeping very close track of what’s going on,” he said.
Jazz wrote about some Southern California nurses who are taking a pass on being vaccinated. At the Stanford Medical Center, however, a protest was held on Friday by medical residents and nurses. They accuse the hospital of vaccinating some staff members who don’t interact with coronavirus patients over other frontline workers. They want the vaccine.
“How many residents? Seven,” the workers chanted through the hospital. Seven represented the number of medical residents who have so far received a coronavirus vaccine in the hospital out of the 1,349 employed.
“This is not just about the residents … we stand here to represent our nurses … we are here to back them … our respiratory therapists, our environmental services workers, food staff, everyone,” one medical resident is heard saying to the crowd.
Nancy Pelosi’s daughter weighed in on the subject.
For example @Stanford you really need to fix this! Why are you delaying #COVID vaccine doses to your front-facing health care workers who are risking their lives to save others? #Priorities pic.twitter.com/GzfIzrR5T0
— Christine Pelosi (@sfpelosi) December 18, 2020
Several departments of the hospital have aired their support for the front line workers.
“The Department of Urology faculty find the algorithm that led to the exclusion of residents (from all services) in the first wave of vaccinations at Stanford appalling. Our faculty have volunteered their appointments go [to] trainees on the front lines to make this right,” The Stanford Medical Center Department of Urology tweeted on Friday.
Dr Joy Wu, a physician-scientist in endocrinology at Stanford, also tweeted her support of the protest.
“The Stanford vaccine algorithm failed to prioritize housestaff,” she wrote. “We @StanfordDeptMed faculty stand with @StanfordMedRes.”
Stanford’s Department of Medicine faculty, division chiefs, and other doctors have all volunteered “to wait until all house staff have been vaccinated” unless they are “high-risk”, Dr Wu said.
Stanford Medical Center is now revising its vaccine distribution plan.
“We take complete responsibility for the errors in the execution of our vaccine distribution plan. Our intent was to develop an ethical and equitable process for distribution of the vaccine. We apologize to our entire community, including our residents, fellows, and other frontline care providers, who have performed heroically during our pandemic response. We are immediately revising our plan to better sequence the distribution of the vaccine.”
It’s confusing enough for non-medical workers to make a decision about the vaccine without the medical professionals sending mixed messages. With the potential of more stories like these about adverse reactions coming out, look for more people to take a wait and see approach until at least the FDA investigation is completed.