California Calls for Pause on Moderna Vaccines Over Reports of Allergic Reactions

Grant Boone
January 19, 2021

California paused giving more than 300,000 Moderna vaccine doses after several people received medical treatment for potential severe allergic reactions, according to The Associated Press.

In this public statement, Dr. Erica Pan, California's state epidemiologist, told healthcare providers to "pause" distributing batch 41L20A of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

One particular community vaccination clinic reported up to 10 allergic reactions to the vaccine within a 24-hour period, considered an unusually high number.

The reactions are the subject of separate probes by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, Moderna and California's public health division. "We're going to pause as recommended until we hear more from the state, but without replacement doses, we're balancing one set of risks against another". At certain sites, vaccines will be administered around the clock starting in late January.

The step, made "out of an extreme abundance of caution", ensures that in the midst of an already sluggish vaccine rollout, 330,000 doses distributed to 287 providers throughout the state will not be used. Moderna, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the US Food and Drug Administration are now undertaking a review of the batch in question.

Specific lot of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine put on pause in California after allergic reactions

"While less data exists on adverse reactions related to the Moderna vaccine, a similar vaccine shows that the expected rate of anaphylaxis is approximately 1 in 100,000".

The pause applies only to one lot that came from Moderna, and not all the vaccine doses from the company.

It was not clear on Monday how many doses Yolo County received from that lot and thus how impacted vaccine administration will be in the coming days.

Governor Gavin Newsom said the state would launch a new system this week for notifying people when they become eligible for the vaccine, and to register for notification by email or text.

US Capitol on Lockdown Due to 'External Security Threat'
Monday, when people were urged to stay away from exterior-facing doors and windows. People on Capitol grounds were told to remain inside shortly before 10:30 a.m.

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