SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Five Bay Area counties say local health providers received COVID-19 vaccine doses from a particular Moderna lot now being paused due to possible allergic reactions. Those counties are San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara and Contra Costa.
A higher than usual number of possible allergic reactions were reported with a specific lot of Monderna vaccine.
The California State Epidemiologist says the vaccine was administered at a community clinic in San Diego. Fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention over the span of 24 hours, but out of an extreme abundance of caution the state is recommending that providers pause the administration of the vaccine from the lot until an investigation by the CDC, FDA, Moderna and state is complete.
Dr. George Rutherford is a professor of epidemiology at UC San Francisco. "We know that there are allergies associated with this, it's odd that it would cluster that way," said Dr. Rutherford.
The individuals appeared to be experiencing a possible severe allergic reaction during the standard observation period, a type of adverse event that the CDC reports some people have experienced when receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine site switched to another lot of Moderna vaccine after closing for a few hours.
More than 330,000 doses from the lot have been distributed to 287 providers across the state. The shipments arrived in California between Jan. 5 and 12.
"A lot is about a tenth of the whole state's supply," said Dr. Rutherford.
"So to hold that back while they're doing this investigation is not an inconsequential problem, so that means they'll do this as quickly and expeditiously as possible and, if all is well, they'll release the lot and we can continue to go forward," Dr. Rutherford continued.
Other providers including here in the Bay Area received doses from the same lot.
Alameda County tweeted that local providers did receive doses and that "no Alameda County providers have reported unusual vaccine responses to the Public Health Department at this time."
Contra Costa County says it received 3,700 doses of the lot -- 3,100 have not been administered. The other 600 were distribute to a community healthcare provider. It's not clear whether that provider administered any doses from the lot before the state's warning.
Santa Clara County received 21,800 doses from the lot. To the county's knowledge, no doses from the lot have been administered to anyone in Santa Clara County.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health has 8,000 doses from Moderna Lot 041L20A, according to a statement from the COVID-19 Command Center. The statement says: "These doses have been distributed to SFDPH vaccinating entities such as Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital -- which is vaccinating their clients and patients -- Laguna Honda Hospital, the city's temporary healthcare worker vaccination clinic, as well as community and non-profit clinics. We are aware that some healthcare providers in San Francisco also received some doses from Lot 041L20A.
"SFDPH has not received any reports of anyone experiencing negative impacts from doses in Lot 041L20A."
Marin County says it received 1,200 doses of this lot on Jan. 11 and all doses were distributed through its vaccine clinic (mass vaccination site) as of Jan. 15. "Our mass vaccination site requires all individuals who are vaccinated to stay on site for 15-30 minutes for post-vaccine observation and monitoring. We've had no reported severe allergic reactions among those who received this lot of the Moderna vaccine," Marin Public Health said in a statement.
San Mateo County said none of the Moderna vaccine distributed there was part of the lot number identified by the state.
ABC7 News reached out to other counties. San Mateo County said none of the Moderna vaccine distributed there was part of the lot number identified by the state. The state has not been notified of any other cluster or individual events related to the lot.
Dr. Rutherford said he wouldn't let the news stop anyone from getting vaccinated.
"If you have a chance to get vaccinated, get vaccinated," said Dr. Rutherford.
VIDEO: Allergist remains optimistic about COVID vaccines after Moderna pause
ABC7 News talked to allergist Dr. Renu Gandhe with the Columbia Asthma and Allergy clinic, she's been fielding a lot of calls after Moderna made headlines with these severe allergic reactions. She echoed Dr. Rutherford's opinion, saying people shouldn't hesitate when they get the chance to be vaccinated.
"Serious allergic reactions are always concerning. But as an allergist, I know that serious allergic reactions can be treated," she said. "As long as we know how to manage this problem, I think we still should, you know, not be hesitant, just because there is added risk of allergic reaction there."
Dr. Gandhe said she wants her patients to understand that we are in the early stages of learning how different people react to the vaccines. She wants to see better risk categorization of patients, identifying who is low, moderate and high risk of getting a reaction.
For those who are high risk, she recommends more rigorous monitoring.
"When you get vaccinated, you should be monitored for about 30 minutes at the site in case there is any allergic reaction, it can be taken care of immediately," she said.
She also added that having a personal history of allergies doesn't give you added risk, should you react to the COVID-19 vaccine.
"I would say the risk of having a systemic allergic reaction is there and that's true for any medication, but I personally think at this point that the risk associated is still fairly low. So, majority of our general population should still be able to get this vaccine."
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