NIGERIAN diasporans in the UK have been urged to be cautious about taking the new coronavirus vaccine after British health officials warned anyone with a history of significant allergic reactions not to take the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid jab for the time being.
Last month, US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that a new drug is in Phase Three trials and should be made available later this year after further testing. Immediately after the announcement, US president-elect Joe Biden and UK prime minister Boris Johnson both said that they would be buying millions of doses of the vaccine when it becomes available.
European stock markets and oil prices jumped on the announcement and Prime Minister Johnson said his government will be purchasing 40m doses of the new vaccine. Although some people have started taking the vaccine in the UK, starting with staff of the state-run National Health Service (NHS), some people have suffered allergic reactions and needed treatment.
NHS England medical director Stephen Powis said both people who have suffered reactions so far, had a medical history but were now recovering well. As a result, the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now advised that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive the vaccination as a precaution.
Thousands of Britons became the first in the world to receive an approved Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday as the NHS began its biggest vaccination drive since it was created in 1948. This vaccine is administered in two doses, 21 days apart and the over-80s and health and social care staff are first in line to get the jab in the national rollout.
Britain has received some 800,000 doses of the vaccine in the first batch of an order of 40m and up to 4m doses are expected by the end of December. Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla, said he understood global concerns about the speed with which pharmaceutical companies have produced vaccines against Covid-19 but insisted no corners have been cut.
Mr Bourla, said the vaccine had been tested in the exact same way as any other vaccine that is circulating out there. Pfizer said the MHRA had told it of the allergic reactions but added that during its Phase Three trials of more than 40,000 people, the vaccine was generally well-tolerated with no serious safety concerns.