ANKARA

People with allergies should get vaccinated in hospitals instead of primary health centers, a Turkish doctor has said.

In a written statement on Tuesday, the head of the Turkish National Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Dr. Bulent Sekerel said severe allergic reactions to vaccines are extremely rare and anaphylaxis occurs in about 1.3 out of 1 million doses of vaccine.

The risk of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines is 11 in a million, a 10-fold higher risk compared to routine vaccines, Sekerel added, noting: “But this difference is not related to what the vaccine was made of, namely coronavirus, rather results from a new technique in producing the vaccines.”

Sekerel explained that this potential higher risk for mRNA vaccines results from a component of the vaccine, PEG (polyethylene glycol).

He also said: “The CoronaVac vaccine used in our country is produced with an old technique, and theoretically, a high risk is not expected unlike in mRNA vaccines.”

Adverse reactions due to vaccination are monitored by the Health Ministry, Sekerel said, adding: “No group, expected to experience an allergic reaction to the CoronaVac vaccine, has been identified.”

“Currently, before the administration of the vaccine in Turkey, people are asked if they have any known allergy to the vaccine or its components. We recommend that those who are allergic to any substance or food should get vaccinated in hospitals instead of primary health centers,” he added.

Sekerel said one-third of Turkey’s population have an allergic rhinitis, asthma, skin and food allergies, adding: “There is no evidence that these people are at risk for COVID-19 vaccines.”

He stressed that all severe allergic reactions is experienced within 30 minutes after vaccination, so it is common practice to monitor vaccinated people for at least 30 minutes after vaccination worldwide.

“For this reason, all healthcare facilities where vaccinations are administered, are equipped with trained personnel to recognize allergic reactions and appropriate treatment equipment,” he said.

Sekerel underlined: “If a person is known to have an allergy to the vaccine, it is recommended for that person to not get vaccinated. However, if the vaccination is compulsory, a different approach called ‘gradual dosing’ could be implemented.”

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