GPs should recall patients who were unable to have the Pfizer vaccine due to allergies to receive the Oxford vaccine instead, NHS England has said.
Last month, GPs were told not to give the Pfizer vaccine to patients with a history of ‘significant’ allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food, following two incidents related to the vaccine.
On Monday, NHS England said GPs can now deliver ‘any’ Covid vaccination to patients with a history of anaphylaxis – as long as they are not allergic to any specific vaccine ingredients or have experienced ‘unexplained’ anaphylaxis.
But in the latest NHS England webinar, held on Tuesday evening, GPs were told that they must now recall any previously excluded patients for vaccination.
It added that they should be given the Oxford vaccine, once practices have received it.
A slide presented at the webinar said: ‘Please remember to recall any eligible patients who were unable to have the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine because of allergies in order to vaccinate them with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine once received (as clinically appropriate).’
Previous NHS England guidance advised that patients with a ‘history of immediate onset-anaphylaxis to multiple classes of drugs or an unexplained anaphylaxis’ should only be vaccinated with the Oxford vaccine.
But it said that those with non-allergic reactions to their first dose can receive the second dose ‘of any vaccine in any vaccination setting’.
Those with a localised itchy skin reaction ‘without systemic symptoms’ to the first dose of the Covid vaccine should have a ‘prolonged observation’ of 30 minutes, it said
It added that they should receive their second jab in a setting ‘with full resuscitation facilities’, such as a hospital.
It comes as GPs have been told they do not need to observe patients for 15 minutes after administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.
However, patients vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine must still be kept for observation for 15 minutes after receiving their jab.