The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) today reported two suspected severe allergic reactions after individuals received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The two individuals from North Dakota had no history of anaphylactic reactions and the two incidences were unrelated. The symptoms were discovered during the 15-minute post-vaccination observation period recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both individuals have recovered, and neither was hospitalized. Both have been advised not to receive second doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

“These allergic reactions are taken very seriously. While they are rare, North Dakota health care providers are prepared to handle these types of events,” said Molly Howell, NDDoH Immunization Director. “COVID hospitalizations and deaths continue to be a far greater risk for North Dakotans, with about 1 in 600 North Dakotans having died with COVID-19 and 1 in 250 being hospitalized. The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19.”

The NDDoH has been in close contact with the CDC and the reactions were reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is a national vaccine safety surveillance program run by CDC and the Food and Drug Administration. The CDC follows up on all severe events to better understand and determine the potential causes and safety risk. 

Anaphylaxis following vaccines is rare, occurring at a rate of approximately one per million doses for other types of vaccines. Anyone who receives COVID-19 vaccine is recommended to be monitored for 15 minutes after vaccination; 30 minutes for those with a prior history of anaphylaxis. Those who have a known allergy to a component of COVID-19 vaccine should not receive the vaccine. Earlier this month at the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting, it was reported that CDC had received six case reports of anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination.

To date, 13,037 health care workers and long-term care residents in North Dakota have received their COVID-19 vaccination. More than 2.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States.