California health officials called for pausing the use of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine. State Epidemiologist Dr Erica Pan called for pausing administration of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine due to a high-than-usual number of severe allergic reactions.
Dr Pan issued a statement recommending the pause in the administration of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine lot '041L20A'.
"A higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions were reported with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine administered at one community vaccination clinic. Fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention over the span of 24 hours," Pan said in a California Department of Public Health statement.
According to the statement, "Out of an extreme abundance of caution and also recognizing the extremely limited supply of vaccine, we are recommending that providers use other available vaccine inventory and pause the administration of vaccines from Moderna Lot 041L20A until the investigation by the CDC, FDA, Moderna and the state is complete. We will provide an update as we learn more."
More than 330,000 doses of this particular lot were distributed to 287 health care providers across California earlier this month, the statement said. Moderna, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the US Food and Drug Administration are currently undertaking a review of the batch in question.
The epidemiologist acknowledged that getting any vaccine is not without risk, but available data on similar vaccines show that one severe allergic reaction per 100,000 inoculations can be expected, well below the current posting.
The pause applies only to one lot that came from Moderna, and not all the vaccine doses from the company.
California, like many states, has struggled to use up as much vaccine as it received in initial allotments from the federal government, administering only about a third of the nearly 2.5 million doses shipped to the state as of Monday.
Governor Gavin Newsom said the state would launch a new system this week for notifying people when they become eligible for the vaccine, and to register for notification by email or text.
Political leaders and health officials nationwide have scrambled in recent days to push out more vaccines to their residents, many lowering the age requirement to 65. California and New York have both pledged to inoculate one million residents this month.
More than 30,000 Californians have so far died of COVID-19 related illness.
Meanwhile, California counties reported 32,904 new cases of COVID-19 and 418 new deaths for a total of 2,951,682 cases and 33,391 deaths in the state. The total number of cases stood at 334,505 in the Bay Area and 3,342 people have died from the virus, according to a report on Sunday.