California’s chief epidemiologist told health care providers on Sunday to stop using a batch of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna after allergic reactions emerged to an “higher than normal” number of people at the San Diego vaccination clinic.
Erica Ban, a state epidemiologist, said Sunday that “out of extreme caution,” service providers should stop using doses until federal, state and corporate officials finish their investigation.
Officials said California received about 330,000 doses from the moderna group in question – about 10% of all vaccines, both Moderna and Pfizer, that have been distributed throughout Golden State.
The apparent allergic reaction occurred at the San Diego County mass vaccination site in Petco Park, said Daryl Ng, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health.
A “higher than normal” number of patients who received the vaccine appeared to have allergic reactions. Pan said their symptoms were severe and required medical attention.
Dr Eric MacDonald, San Diego County’s director of epidemiology, said during a news briefing that was broadcast live on Wednesday that operations in Petco Park had slowed after six health care workers who had just been vaccinated developed an obvious allergic reaction.
“This number, grouped together, was slightly higher than expected for the time period,” MacDonald said. He said that health service providers switched the batch of vaccines they were providing, “in case” the reactions were likely to be related.
“Any vaccine, be it the COVID vaccine or the flu vaccine, should be administered in your doctor’s office, under medical supervision,” MacDonald said. “In this case, with a new vaccine, there are very specific guidelines that all sites giving this vaccine must follow.”
This includes monitoring patients after the injection for at least 15 minutes, and for a longer period of time in cases where patients have a medical condition that could trigger an allergic reaction.
Petco Park has the capacity to manage 5,000 shots per day. It is one of several mega sites launched in California over the past week, including a similar clinic at Dodger Stadium that city officials say will soon have a capacity of about 12,000 rounds per day.
Officials said no other cluster of cases, or individual cases, has been reported with the Moderna batch, Group 041L20A, distributed to 287 medical providers across the state. The batch arrived in California between January 5 and 12.
The state said in a statement sent to medical service providers: “There are no immediate replacement doses during the temporary suspension, in addition to the pending orders scheduled to be shipped in the next few days.”
Moderna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.