One person in France has suffered an allergic reaction after being injected with the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, Minister for Health Olivier Véran has said, a day after the country started its coronavirus inoculation drive.

Of the 138,000 French people vaccinated on Monday, Véran said there had been one case of an “adverse reaction of an allergic nature,” but added that the outcome was “favorable” and the consequences of the reaction were not serious.

Speaking during a parliamentary meeting, Véran added that the allergic reaction corresponded to adverse effects witnessed in a small number of people inoculated with the Pfizer jab in other countries.

Health officials in the US have said that, on average, around one in 100,000 people experience a severe allergic reaction after receiving a dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

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A medic receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the British history, at the Louisa Jordan Hospital, in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain (FILE PHOTO) © Pool via REUTERS / Jeff J Mitchell
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One reason put forward for allergic reactions to the jab is that it contains polyethylene glycol (PEG), a substance found in shampoo and toothpaste, but not commonly used in vaccines.

The French Allergology Federation clarified in mid-December that people with severe allergies can receive the Pfizer jab, as long as they are not allergic to PEG.

Its advice was issued after two people in the UK suffered reactions to the vaccine and Britain’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency told people with a “significant history of allergic reactions” to avoid the jab.

Several cases of allergic reactions to coronavirus vaccines have been reported, including in the US, but most cases are in people with a history of reactions.

France has been one of hardest-hit countries in Europe from the virus. Tough health measures to ease the pressure on hospitals are still in place, as the country is currently averaging around 18,000 new cases every day. From Tuesday, 25 of the country’s administrative divisions – or ‘départements’ – are under 12-hour curfews from 6pm to 6am, while the rest of France will be under slightly less strict 8pm-to-6am curfews.

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