California Resumes Use of the Moderna Vaccine, Following Initial Halt

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The state of California has resumed administering doses of Moderna vaccine to its citizens after a temporary ban due to several cases of allergic reactions.

The state of California has resumed administering doses of the Moderna vaccine to its citizens after a temporary ban due to several cases of allergic reactions. The reactions were triggered 30 minutes after inoculation. According to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline, vaccine providers are advised to observe the recipients of vaccinations for a period of 15 minutes after the injection. In cases where the person has a history of an allergic reaction to vaccines or any other injectable therapies, the observation should ideally last for a period of 30 minutes.

“Fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention over the span of 24 hours. 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 and pause the administration of vaccines from Moderna Lot 041L20A until the investigation by the CDC, FDA, Moderna, and the state is complete,” California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan had said in a statement.

Health were officials allowed to give the Moderna vaccine again

California has acquired 330,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which have been distributed to 287 vaccine providers across the state. The vaccines belong to a shipment that arrived in California between Jan. 5 and 12. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are looking into the issue. 

In Orange County, officials suspended administering the Moderna vaccine soon after receiving a directive from the California Department of Public Health. About 5,217 people in the county were vaccinated with Moderna, with no one reporting any adverse effects.

The allergic reactions could be due to the fact that people were exposed to some environmental factors (Image: pixabay / CC0.10)

After reviewing the incident, the state’s health officials gave the nod to resume vaccinations. California Department of Public Health (CDPH) noted that only one among the 287 sites had reported allergic reactions. And these reactions came from vaccines of a specific lot. Since the other 286 sites have not reported any significant number of adverse effects, the state has okayed the continued use of Moderna. Dr. Pan approved the move and advised “every Californian to get the vaccine when it’s their turn.”

Dr. Anne Liu, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, said that the adverse reactions might have been due to manufacturing irregularities. She points out that unlike Pfizer, Moderna has to outsource production of its vaccines since they do not have the necessary large-scale manufacturing infrastructure. Another possible reason for the 10 cases of allergic reactions could be exposure to certain environmental factors that made these more people susceptible. 

Meanwhile, the UK and the European Union have approved Moderna for use in the region. (Image: Getty Images)

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the UK’s medicines regulator, noted that they have conducted a “thorough and rigorous” assessment to ensure that the Moderna vaccine is safe and effective. In the EU, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the vaccine after assessing its efficacy and safety.

“We are providing more COVID-19 vaccines for Europeans. With the Moderna vaccine, the second one now authorized in the EU, we will have a further 160 million doses. And more vaccines will come. Europe has secured up to two billion doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines. We’ll have more than enough safe and effective vaccines for protecting all Europeans,” Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said in a statement. In addition, Canada and Israel have also given the green light to administer Moderna vaccines in their regions.

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