World

California urges halt to 300K vaccines after some fall ill

PTI Los Angeles | Updated on January 19, 2021

A file photo of Moderna's logo reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration.   -  Reuters

Six San Diego health care workers had allergic reactions to vaccines they received at a mass vaccination centre on January 14

California's state epidemiologist is urging a halt to more than 300,000 coronavirus vaccinations using a Moderna vaccine version because some people received medical treatment for possible severe allergic reactions.

Dr. Erica S. Pan on Sunday recommended providers stop using lot 41L20A of the Moderna vaccine pending completion of an investigation by state officials, Moderna, the US Centers for Disease Control and the federal Food and Drug Administration.

“Out of an extreme abundance of caution and also recognizing the extremely limited supply of vaccine, we are recommending that providers use other available vaccine inventory," Pan said in a statement.

She said more than 330,000 doses from the lot arrived in California between January 5 and January 12 and were distributed to 287 providers.

Fewer than 10 people, who all received the vaccine at the same community site, needed medical attention over a 24-hour period, Pan said. No other similar clusters were found.

Pan did not specify the number of cases involved or where they occurred.

However, six San Diego health care workers had allergic reactions to vaccines they received at a mass vaccination centre on January 14. The site was temporarily closed and is now using other vaccines, KTGV-TV reported.

Side effects

The CDC has said the vaccine can cause side effects for a few days that include fever, chills, headache, swelling or tiredness, “which are normal signs that your body is building protection".

However, severe reactions are extremely rare. Pan said in a vaccine similar to Moderna, the rate of anaphylaxis — in which an immune system reaction can block breathing and cause blood pressure to drop — was about 1 in 100,000.

The announcement came as California counties continue to plead for more COVID-19 vaccine as the state tries to reduce its rate of infection, which has led to record numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.

California, with a population of 40 million, has received about 3.5 million vaccine doses and has only administered about a third of them, according to the CDC.

So far, the state has vaccinated just 2,468 people per 100,000 residents, a rate that falls well below the national average, according to the federal data.

Although Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week said anyone age 65 and older would be eligible to start receiving the vaccine, Los Angeles County and some others have said they do not have enough doses to vaccinate so many people and are concentrating on inoculating health care workers and the most vulnerable elderly living in care homes first.

On Monday, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District sent a letter to state and county public health officials asking for authorization to provide COVID-19 vaccinations at schools for staff, local community members and for students once a vaccine for children has been approved.

“Doing so will help reopen schools as soon as possible, and in the safest way possible,” Superintendent Austin Beutner wrote.

California is nearing 3 million coronavirus cases and more than 33,600 people have died since the start of the pandemic last year, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The death rate from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County — the nation's most populous and an epicenter of the state pandemic — works out to about one person every six minutes.

That variant has already shown up in San Diego County and Los Angeles County announced over the weekend that it had detected its first case. (AP) RDM RDM

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on January 19, 2021
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor