Woman's death likely rare side-effect of Covid-19 vaccine

Published date30 August 2021
Publication titleOtago Daily Times: Web Edition Articles (New Zealand)
Following the death of the woman from myocarditis and pericarditis the Covid-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board (CV-ISMB) has advised the Ministry of Health to ensure healthcare professionals and consumers remain vigilant and are aware of the signs of the condition and pericarditis which was a similar condition.

Myocarditis - an inflammation of the heart muscle - is a rare side-effect of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the vaccine was safe and myocarditis was a "very rare" and previously known side-effect from the vaccine.

Asked about vaccine hesitancy in light of the vaccine-related death, Bloomfield recognised it would be a worry for some, but reassured people that there was plenty of evidence the vaccine was safe and myocarditis was rare.

Associate Professor James Ussher, from the University of Otago's Department of Microbiology and Immunology, said the death was dreadfully sad, but emphasised the benefits of the vaccine far outweighed the risks.

It represented one of the first deaths from myocarditis linked to an mRNA vaccine, Prof Usher said.

"Hundreds of millions of doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered globally.

"To date, the vast majority of cases of myocarditis following vaccination with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have been mild, with resolution of both symptoms and inflammation with anti-inflammatories."

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"The benefits of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 far outweigh the risks, with recent data from the United States showing a massive 25-fold reduction in the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid-19 in vaccinated individuals."

The case has been referred to the Coroner and the cause of death has not yet been determined.

The CV-ISMB considered that the myocarditis was probably due to vaccination. The CV-ISMB noted there were other medical issues occurring at the same time which may have influenced the outcome following vaccination.

Further details would not be released while the Coroner investigated the death.

The ministry said this was the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer vaccine.

While the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring had received other reports of deaths in someone recently vaccinated, none were considered related to vaccination.

CV-ISMB chairman Dr John Tait said it was important to thoroughly investigate significant and...

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