PEOPLE with a "severe" allergy should not take the Covid vaccine, according to FDA officials, but administration sites will be equipped with tools to handle allergic reactions.
FDA Biologics Director Dr. Peter Marks on Saturday addressed reports that some people were experiencing allergic reactions to the jab – and specified that only people allergic to an ingredient in the vaccine should avoid it.
"About 1.6 percent of the population has had a severe allergic reaction, of some sort or another, to a food or some environmental aspects," Dr. Marks noted during an FDA press conference on Saturday morning.
"We would really not like to have that many people not be able to receive the vaccine," he said.
"So we looked very closely at the databases and we feel comfortable telling people that, unless they've had a severe reaction to the vaccine or one of its components, they can receive it."
Dr. Marks went on to note that even though the FDA feels the vaccine is safe for most people, the sites that administer the shots will be equipped with tools to handle allergic reactions.
"We may have to modify things as we move forward, but for right now, we're comfortable with this," Dr. Marks said.
"The extra piece of this is that centers will have the ability to treat allergic reactions. I think that's an extra precaution."
The Pfizer Covid vaccine was given emergency approval for use in the United States on Friday.
President Donald Trump announced that shipments of the shots have already begun to every state in the country.
Vaccines are expected to begin being administered on Saturday.
During Saturday's press conference, Dr. Marks also said that he is confident that American healthcare workers will be able to administer the vaccine effectively, despite several logistical challenges.
For one thing, the vaccine must be stored at a temperature of minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, and the boxes the shots are shipped in cannot be opened more than twice a day.
There is also some confusion about how the administration of the shots will be tracked.
States have said that they only have a fraction of the funding they need from the federal government to administer the shots and track who has received both doses, among other logistics issues, according to a New York Times report.
Even in places where the vaccines are expected to be delivered this weekend, there is still some confusion about how many doses these sites can expect.
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