7 Apr 2021

First Medsafe report on Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine records 147 adverse reactions

5:53 pm on 7 April 2021

Medicines safety regulator Medsafe's first safety report on the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine has recorded 147 adverse reactions after the immunisation.

MIQ and border workers getting Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine.

An MIQ or border worker getting the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine. Photo: Supplied / Ministry of Health

Of those, three were considered serious.

The most common adverse reaction was dizziness. That was followed by headaches, nausea and fainting.

Medsafe's first safety report covered the period to 6 March, when just over 15,000 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine had been administered.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there was a low bar for an adverse reaction to be considered serious.

"All these involved an allergic reaction of some kind, one of which was classified as an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine, in someone who had a history of allergies," Bloomfield said.

"All were managed appropriately on the spot, that's why we have nursing and medical oversight and none of these people required hospitalisation or have any ongoing problems."

Medsafe has not found any new safety concerns with the vaccine in New Zealand.

Bloomfield said the number and pattern of adverse reactions was in line with what Medsafe would expect, and what had been reported overseas.

Suspected adverse reactions to the Covid-19 vaccine are reported to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring.

An "adverse reaction" is an untoward medical event which follows immunisation. They do not always have a causal relationship with the administration of the vaccine.

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