New Zealand woman dies after receiving Pfizer COVID vaccine

pharmafile | August 31, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production  

New Zealand has reported what they believe to be the first death associated with the Pfizer vaccine.

An independent vaccine safety monitoring board said the woman’s death was “probably” due to myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle.

It also noted there were other medical issues which could have “influenced the outcome following vaccination”.

European regulators say myocarditis is a “very rare” side effect, and it’s important to note that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.

The official cause of death has not yet been determined.

Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board (CV-ISMB), Dr John Tait, said: “We want to ensure that the outcomes from this investigation are widely available for others to learn from. The findings will be published to increase the scientific knowledge about vaccine-induced myocarditis.

“The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective in protecting against serious illness and death from COVID-19, and we remain confident about using it in New Zealand.”

In New Zealand, adverse events following vaccinations are reported to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM). All cases with a fatal outcome are referred to the CV-ISMB for review.

CARM provides as much information on the case as possible for the clinical experts on the CV-ISMB to help them in their consideration of whether there was a link to vaccination. 

This is the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. While CARM has received other reports of deaths in someone recently vaccinated, none are considered related to vaccination.

Symptoms of myocarditis can include new onset chest pain, shortness of breath and an abnormal heartbeat. It’s important that anyone who experiences these symptoms in the first few days after vaccination seeks medical attention promptly.

Lilly Subbotin

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