The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday that at least 21 people have had a severe allergic reaction after receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. All of the patients have recovered.
The reaction, called anaphylaxis, can be life-threatening, and must be treated immediately with an emergency injection of epinephrin, often given via EpiPen. The report included data from 1.9 million people who got the shot in the first week and a half it was available last month, from Dec. 14 to Dec. 23. That puts the rate of anaphylaxis at 11.1 cases per million doses given. For comparison, the rate of anaphylaxis following the flu shot is 1.3 per million, the CDC said.
"This is still a rare outcome," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, head of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a media briefing Wednesday. "Right now, the known and potential benefits of the current COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the known and potential risks of getting COVID-19."