Case of severe allergic reaction to COVID-19 reported in Wallowa

PORTLAND, Ore.—As the public health authority for Wallowa County, Oregon Health Authority is reporting that a health care worker in the county has had a severe allergic reaction to the Moderna vaccine that required hospitalization.

OHA is closely monitoring the case, which involves an employee at Wallowa Memorial Hospital who experienced anaphylaxis after receiving a first dose of the Moderna vaccine this week. The individual is recovering at a hospital.

Those who have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to a vaccine or injectable therapy for any disease should ask their health care provider if they should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your provider will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated.

OHA has been responsible for providing limited public health services in Wallowa County since April 2018, when the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners voted to transfer its local public health authority to the state agency. During the COVID-19 pandemic, OHA is working closely with Wallowa County partners on COVID-19 case investigation, contact tracing and vaccination.

New vaccines for COVID-19 can cause mild to moderate side effects in some people, including pain and swelling on the arm, and sometimes fever, chills, tiredness and headache. These are normal signs that your body is building an immune response against the virus, and while they may affect your ability to do daily activities, they should go away in a few days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that in rare cases, some people have experienced severe allergic reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. An allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen, or if they must go to the hospital.

OHA will continue to track adverse events related to the COVID-19 vaccines through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, which the CDC co-manages with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VAERS accepts and analyzes reports of adverse events after a person has received a vaccination. Anyone can report an adverse event to VAERS. Health care professionals are required to report certain adverse events and vaccine manufacturers are required to report all adverse events that come to their attention. For more information, visit the VAERS website.

So far, a total of 38,698 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines—26,639 of Pfizer and 12,054 of Moderna—have been administered in Oregon since the week of Dec. 13.

Stay informed about COVID-19:

Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority leads the state response.

United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the US response.

Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.