What has started is both the coronavirus vaccine roll-out to actual recipients not enrolled in a trial.
And at the same time, of course, what has started is the recognition of unexpected side effects in some of those recipients.
So within one day of starting their immunization program in the UK, the authorities have reported “allergic” reactions in two recipients, both of whom are said to have had a strong previous history of allergic reactions to foods, strong enough, in fact, that they have both been carrying emergency adrenalin kits with them because of those previous reactions.
And most happily, both those people have apparently recovered fully with the administration of adrenalin, although it remains to be learned what the experts will advise them to do for the second dose of the vaccine, probably to avoid getting it.
But what this has led to is that the authorities are now saying that people with a history of strong allergic reactions to foods should wait before getting this vaccine.
Seems like good advice to me especially since there will be several other vaccines available before too long, and most of them are based on different scientific principles than this early roll-out Pfizer vaccine.
But that’s the way the medical world works: Trials to establish efficacy and safety are always quite limited both in number of patients but especially in diversity of population enrolled so we don’t learn of problems with the vaccine or drug that was approved for general use until after, often long after in some cases, that particular product has been used on a large number of varied individuals.
There will be more surprises, you can be sure, but for now, the bottom line is still the same: The overall benefits for these vaccines seem to very significantly outweigh the potential problems.
But stay tuned.