A Fairbanks hospital employee is the third Alaskan health worker to experience serious negative reactions to the Pfizer COVID vaccine.

The first person to receive the COVID vaccine at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital is given the shot on Dec. 17. One out of the first 300 Fairbanks health care workers experienced an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine, which is a far higher rate than normal.

On Dec. 18, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital reported that one of its employees had “a probable anaphylactic reaction” shortly after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17.

“The employee, who is not known to have allergies, was one of almost 300 employees to receive the vaccine yesterday,” the hospital said. “Every employee that receives the vaccine is observed for 15 to 30 minutes. We are working with the State of Alaska Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC to share details of the reaction.”

The employee was a clinician at the hospital. After recovering from the reaction, the clinician issued a statement on the hospital Facebook page encouraging others to take the shot despite what happened to her.

The Fairbanks comes on the heels of negative reactions at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau where two health workers were admitted to the emergency department after having anaphylactic type reactions to the vaccine.

In all three incidents the patients recovered, but the frequency at which these negative reactions are occurring far exceeds normal rates among most types of vaccines.

The CDC website states that “anaphylaxis following vaccines is rare, occurring at a rate of approximately one per million doses for many vaccines.”

The Fairbanks incident happened after only 300 people were vaccinated. In Juneau, two hospital workers out of the first 144 vaccinated had reactions severe enough to necessitate admission to the emergency department.

Alaska received 35,100 doses of the vaccine and began administering it to health care workers this week. Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said on Dec. 16 that the state would not be reporting every negative reaction or posting this data on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

So far, the hospitals have voluntarily reported three incidents to the public.

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3rd Alaska health care worker suffers anaphylactic reaction following COVID shot

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.