Norway has confirmed that within days of taking the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, 23 elderly people died, with 13 of those deaths said to be due to “side effects”
According to Sigurd Hortemo, chief physician at the Norwegian Medicines Agency, typical reactions to the jab, including fever and nausea, “may have led to a fatal outcome in some frail patients.”
Nursing patients at home and at least 80 years of age were all 13 who suffered suspected side effects.
Health authorities are not concerned, but are changing their recommendations about who should receive the vaccine.
Steinar Madsen, the agency’s medical director, said: “It is quite clear that these vaccines are at very low risk, with a small exception for the most vulnerable patients.”
Doctors must now decide carefully who should be vaccinated.
“Following an individual evaluation, those who are very frail and at the very end of life can be vaccinated.”
According to official estimates, more than 30,000 people in Norway have received the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines since last month.
Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company, said that it is “aware of the reported deaths” in Norway and is working “to gather all the relevant information” with the Norwegian Medicines Agency.
The Pfizer vaccine is one of three that, along with those developed by AstraZeneca and Moderna, have been approved for use in the UK.
“Norwegian officials have prioritized the immunization of nursing home residents, most of whom are very elderly with underlying health issues and some of whom are terminally ill,” said a company spokeswoman.
(Confirmed by the Norwegian Medicine Agency) the number of accidents to date is not concerning and in line with expectations.
“All reported deaths will be carefully assessed by (the agency) to evaluate if these incidents are related to the vaccine. The Norwegian government will also help adjust their vaccination directions to take the patients’ health into more consideration.”
The Norwegian Medicines Agency, the country’s drug regulator, reported that a total of 29 people, including 13 who died, suffered side effects.
In addition to those who died, nine had severe side effects, including allergic reactions, severe discomfort and severe fever, while seven had less severe side effects, such as injection site pain.