USA vaccine worries Norway as 29 elderly people die after receiving shot

Grant Boone
January 18, 2021

Twenty-nine people have died in Norway after being administered Pfizer's vaccine against the novel coronavirus, Norwegian authorities have said.

Officials listed fever, vomiting, and nausea as side effects which "may have led to the deaths of some frail patients", Sigurd Hortemo of the Norwegian Medicines Agency said, Bloomberg reported.

The FDA granted an EUA to the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech on Thursday.

According to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, if you've already received your first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, you may be waiting longer for the second.

Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack has reassured that any coronavirus vaccine rolled out in Australia will be safe, following reports of multiple deaths in elderly people in Norway linked to the Pfizer vaccine.

"We have a very good regulatory process here. we've been able to wait for all safety data to come in from the phase 3 [advanced] trials and now have the benefit of learning from the experience in those countries rolling out the vaccine", she said. It's not yet clear whether the reported deaths following COVID-19 vaccination are simply a function of age and declining health, or whether the vaccine may have played a role.

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US authorities reported 21 cases of severe allergic reactions from December 14-23 after administration of about 1.9 million initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Following the incident, the Australian Health Minister has demanded detailed information of the incident on an urgent basis.

"We are closely monitoring this situation as well as the results of the vaccine rollout out in other countries, including reported reactions and the overall safety profile of the vaccine".

"Norwegian authorities have prioritised the immunisation of residents in Nursing Homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some who are terminally ill".

Veran said the main challenge in France - which has reported almost 3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, the highest in the Europe Union - was not the logistics of the vaccination process but the delivery of doses. Assuming that the vaccine has adverse effects in this case, Domingo said that the FDA can indicate in the EUA that the product may not be used in the elderly and people with severe allergies. "The NRPA (National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency) is also getting detailed information from Pfizer (M) Sdn Bhd and monitoring what the European Medicines Agency are doing about the latest developments", Dr Adham said in a statement today.

India's capital also reported one severe and 51 minor instances of side-effects after receiving the vaccine on Saturday.

Israel has vaccinated at least 25 percent of its population against the coronavirus so far, which leads the world and makes it "the country to watch for herd effects from" the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, says infectious disease expert David Fishman.

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