International experts: No deaths have been directly related to the coronavirus vaccine

Corona vaccinePhoto: AP Photo / Eraldo Peres
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Corona vaccine has not in itself caused deaths in Europe, even though a number of deaths have been registered among those who have received the vaccine, experts say.

The vast majority of those who have died after receiving the corona vaccine have been elderly and frail.

Last week, an international alarm was sounded after reports that 23 people had died after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Norway.

Later, the number of deaths among vaccinated people has increased, but the Norwegian Medicines Agency has concluded that it is not the vaccine itself that was deadly. 

“The reports may indicate that common side effects from mRNA vaccines, such as fever and nausea, may have led to deaths in some frail patients,” Sigurd Hortemo at the Norwegian Medicines Agency stated last week.

“If you are very frail, you should probably not be vaccinated,” Steinar Madsen at the Agency added.

Fear

The signs from Norway nevertheless created fear internationally. In many countries, the health authorities stepped out and assured people that no clear causal link had been established between the COVID-19 vaccine and deaths.

Out of the more than 800,000 people who have been vaccinated in France, nine deaths were registered before the weekend among chronically ill patients in nursing and rest homes.

“Nothing makes us conclude that the reported deaths were related to vaccination,” the French Medicines Agency ANSM stated.

In Sweden, 13 deaths have been reported among vaccinated people, while Iceland has reported seven. No direct causal link has been established there either.

In Portugal, a health worker died two days after receiving the vaccine. However, according to the country’s Ministry of Justice, the autopsy showed that it was not the vaccine that caused the death.

No specific concern

France is following developments in other countries closely, and the country’s Home Office registered 71 deaths among vaccinated people a week ago.

At the same time, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded that there was no “specific concern” about side effects associated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The number of deaths among those who have received the vaccine is so far not considered to be abnormally high, nor has any direct connection between the vaccine and the deaths been proven, their conclusion reads.

The deaths are largely explained by the fact that most European countries, like Norway, have placed elderly and frail nursing home residents first in the vaccine queue.

“It is not unexpected that some of these people become ill as a result of old age or underlying ailments shortly after receiving the vaccine, without the vaccine itself playing any role,” the British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) concludes.

Sensitive issue

Deaths among vaccinated people are a sensitive issue, and they are treated very differently from country to country.

Norway and the other Nordic countries have, like France, “played with open cards,” stating how many deaths have been registered and what possible side effects the vaccine may have.

The MHRA has withheld such information, presumably not to spread fear and increased vaccine resistance, but it is now promising to provide such information.

“We will regularly publish all suspicious reactions that are reported in connection with COVID-19 vaccines, together with our assessment of this data,” an announcement from the MHRA states.

Necessary to assess the health status of frail patients

Neither the British health authorities nor other European countries have so far changed their vaccine programs or raised doubts about whether the corona vaccine is safe.

In Norway, there has been a general call for doctors to carefully assess the health status of very frail patients before they are vaccinated.

A number of other countries follow the same practice, among them Ireland, where the health service (HSE) on Sunday referred to Norway and encouraged Irish doctors to do the same.

“People should not be vaccinated if their life expectancy is less than the time it takes before the vaccine becomes effective,” the HSE stated in a letter to the doctors. 

According to an overview from AFP, over 60 million doses of the corona vaccine were administered in 64 countries over the weekend. 

In Norway, almost 72,000 people received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while just under 2,000 received the second dose.

Source: #Norway Today, #NorwayTodayNews

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