Norway announced the death of 23 elderly people after Pfizer shot.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health warns of vaccination risk for the elderly people above 80 years of age, saying those with the most severe frailty, or with the mild vaccine, side-effects can have serious consequences.
This is the most cautious statement that came from a European health authority as several countries are assessing the real-world side effects of the first shots to gain approval.
Norwegian officials said 23 people had died after receiving the vaccination dose. There was no direct correlation was found between Pfizer and these deaths yet. Out of 23 deaths, 13 have been autopsied, the result is suggesting the common side effects of mRNA vaccine such as diarrhea, nausea, and fever.
“For those who have very short remaining time span, the benefit of the vaccine is marginal or very irrelevant”, said The Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
But this doesn’t mean younger and healthier people should avoid taking vaccination, this is just an indication of what to watch out as other countries are also starting their vaccination drives.
Emer Cooke, the new head of the European Medicines Agency, has said tracking the safety of Covid vaccines, especially those relying on novel technologies such as messenger RNA, would be one of the biggest challenges once shots are rolled out widely.
Pfizer and BioNTech are working with Norwegian officials to investigate the cause behind these deaths in Norway. “The number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations,” according to Pfizer.
In a recent report, the Norwegian Medicines Agency said that 21 women and 8 men reported side effects. Apart from 23 deaths, 9 people have reported serious side effects without fatal outcomes such as allergic reactions, strong discomfort, and severe fever. 7 people reported less serious side effects such as severe pain at the injection site.
In the U.S., authorities reported 21 cases of severe allergic reaction from Dec. 14 – Dec. 23, after administration of 1.9 million of initial doses of vaccination developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. That’s an incidence of 11.1 cases per million doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved late last year and has been used broadly. A similar shot from Moderna Inc. was approved earlier this month and also being administered now.
Norway has given at least one dose to about 33,000 people, those who are at most risk if contract with virus including elderly people.
Norwegian authorities had investigated that out of 29 cases of potential side effects, 21 were in people of age 80 or above.
In France, one person died within two hours after being vaccinated but the authorities had claimed that this is not related to the vaccine. The patient was previously ill.
The French pharmaceutical safety agency further reported 4 cases of severe allergic reactions and two incidents of an irregular heartbeat after vaccination.
Vaccine makers are required to submit data monthly. The first safety report on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the whole of Europe will be published by January end.