SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority said on Wednesday that it will not delay administering the Moderna vaccine after their counterparts in California opted to pause distribution of a batch of the same vaccine over allergy concerns.
California decided to hold up the shipment of 330,000 doses earlier this week following a cluster of severe allergic reactions at one clinic that was administering the vaccine.
OHA sent out a recommendation to local vaccination sites to continue inoculations with the same Moderna batch, after the CDC said that it did not think the vaccine should be halted.
“CDC is aware of a situation in California in which multiple potential adverse events were reported after vaccination with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine . . . at one community vaccination clinic," the federal agency said. "We are working closely with the California Department of Public Health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Moderna to investigate these potential adverse events. At this time CDC does NOT recommend health departments stop administering this lot or any lot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.”
Oregon officials said that there were six allergic reactions at a single site in California, which prompted the state's response. In Oregon, health experts are investigating two "adverse events" at different sites that were associated with the same Moderna lot, but anyone who experienced a reaction to the vaccine has since recovered.
The Moderna batch in question consists of roughly one million doses. 57,400 doses of the batch have been distributed to 118 vaccination sites throughout Oregon, OHA said, and the majority of them have already been administered.
The Western States Scientific Safety Review Committee — a coalition of scientists appointed by Oregon, California, and Washington — is looking into the reports, and is expected to deliver more information by the end of the day Wednesday.
"OHA encourages local vaccine administration sites to share information about lot numbers in response to questions from patients," the agency said. "The Western States Scientific Safety Review Committee will continue to monitor further reports and will consider any additional guidance states receive from the federal government."
Health officials reiterated that local medical staff should monitor inoculated patients for 15 minutes after vaccination, or 30 minutes for people with a history of immediate allergic reactions.
“Vaccines, along with wearing masks and limiting indoor gatherings, are the safest, most effective and most reliable ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said state health officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger. "Adverse reactions to vaccines are extremely rare, but we’re paying close attention when they do occur. At this time, there’s no evidence that these events have been associated with any other vaccine site and I encourage every eligible Oregonian to get a vaccine as soon as vaccination is available to you.”