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Finland confirms 46 cases of severe allergic reaction to Covid vaccine

People with a history of significant allergic reactions should consult their doctor before getting the Covid jab.

Koronarokotepullo. injektioruisku ja adrenaliiniruiskeita pöydällä.
Healthcare personnel at mass vaccination centres treat suspected cases of anaphylaxis with an intramuscular injection of epinephrine. Image: Petri Aaltonen / Yle

The Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea says it had received 46 reports of anaphylaxis following Covid vaccinations by 15 June, a low figure in relation to the millions of administered doses.

"A previous anaphylactic reaction to food won't prevent you from getting the Covid vaccine, but public health institute THL recommends stretching the 15-minute post-vaccination observation period to half an hour," Liisa Näveri of Fimea explained.

The pharmaceutical regulator said it had received 40 reports of anaphylaxis following Pfizer shots and six after injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

People who developed a severe allergic reaction after a dose of an mRNA vaccine will receive a viral vector-based shot to complete their vaccination.

"If you have concerns about developing an allergic reaction after getting a Covid jab, the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor, rather than foregoing Covid-19 vaccination altogether," Näveri explained.

By mid-June, Fimea said it had received 1,531 notifications of adverse reactions to coronavirus vaccines. Fever, headache, muscle pain and tiredness are the most commonly reported side effects.

Anaphylaxis requires immediate treatment, which is why vaccination centres have epinephrine (EpiPens) on hand. The drug is injected straight into a person's thigh. The drug constricts the blood vessels, decreases swelling and allows the muscles around the airways to relax, causing the lungs to open.

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