The news last week definitely was shocking — a health care worker in Wallowa County was hospitalized for several days after a severe allergic reaction to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
The individual, who Wallowa Memorial Hospital has not identified, did recover from the case of anaphylaxis caused by the vaccine and was released from the hospital — where, coincidentally, they work, according to the Oregon Health Authority — as was reported in this publication last week. We are thankful that this reaction was not more severe.
It was inevitable that, somewhere, at some point, there would be an adverse reaction to the vaccine. There have been several reported throughout the nation. It is a bit more jarring, though, when it hits at home, as this one did, and when it is the first in the state of Oregon, as this one appears to have been by all initial reports.
What is the proper response, though? As more and more of the vaccine is produced, and others are developed, it will, at some point soon, be made available to the rest of the general public. Individuals will have to decide whether the vaccine is the correct move for them, given it is not currently required, even in the fields where it is being administered.
Many say it’s a no-brainer given the severity of COVID-19 — especially for those most susceptible, who should be higher up on the list to get inoculated.
An instance like this does give pause, however, and can cause a person to wonder if they should, given the possibility of an adverse reaction.
It doesn’t appear, though, that this is changing a ton of minds on the vaccine. Brooke Pace, the communications director for WMH, said in an interview with the Chieftain last week that most people she has spoken with had already made up their mind regarding the vaccine before this case, and doesn’t anticipate an adverse reaction — even locally — making a major shift in that.
For those still on the fence, or who have an allergy history and are concerned, both the OHA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites have guidance on what the public should do, including meeting with their doctor to discuss the best step for them. One of the best documents to review, Pace recommended, is the official Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, which is on its website or can be accessed through the CDC website. There, individuals have access to ample information — including the ingredients list — to help them make an informed decision when it comes to their allergy risk and the vaccine. Discussing the ingredients with a doctor would be a wise decision, as well.
The odds are very much against an individual having a reaction. But the prudent step still would be to meet with a doctor if you have concern. Don’t take a chance.