There have been fewer than five cases of allergic reactions in the NWT to the Moderna vaccine against Covid-19.

At a media update on Feb. 10, Dr. Kami Kandola, the chief public health officer for the NWT, was asked whether there had been any allergic reactions in the territory since a vaccination campaign started in late December.

“We have had a few of those allergic reactions that are more than just common side effects,” she said. “All those adverse reactions come to us for review. But when you look at the amount of vaccine we’ve given – and we’ve given over 13,000 first and second doses – they’re relatively a small amount in terms of really serious allergic reactions.”

Kandola said there have been fewer than five serious allergic reactions in the NWT.

“We haven’t had many,” she said.

Kandola said it is also possible that some reported adverse reactions may not be linked to the vaccine, but simply happening in the same timeframe as the vaccinations.

“So this is being reviewed by my staff and, once we finish the vaccine rollout, we can synthesize all these adverse reactions,” she said. “But right now it’s just being reviewed, evaluated and reported back to the primary care provider and to the Public Health Agency of Canada and back to the client whether this is a serious enough adverse reaction to warrant not getting the second dose.”

Kandola said there are other options if a person should not get a second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

Part of the assessment after an allergic reaction would be to consult an allergist, because Moderna is not the only Covid-19 vaccine that’s available, she said.

“It uses a particular platform, but there are other vaccines that are emerging and getting approved shortly that have different vaccine platforms that they may not be allergic to. It depends on what their adverse reaction was and also it depends on what the allergist would say, and whether we can consider boosting with a second dose from a different Covid-19 vaccine with a different platform.”

Kandola said if a person is not eligible for a second dose of the Moderna vaccine, the first dose does provide protection after 14 days, but it is unknown how long that protection lasts.

Aside from serious allergic reactions, Kandola pointed out there are other common side effects to the Moderna vaccine, such as local redness, pain, swelling at the site of the injection, and a phenomenon called Covid arm involving more swelling which disappears by itself.

Other common side effects are headaches, chills, fever, muscle or joint pain, and extreme tiredness.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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