Almost 30 people in Norway have died after receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, health officials have said.
The Norwegian Medicine Agency revealed in a press release on Friday that 23 patients died within days of receiving their first jab of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19. By Sunday, that figure had risen to 29.
According to Sigurd Hortemo, chief physician at the Norwegian Medicines Agency, of the deaths, 13 have received autopsies which suggested that common side effects to the vaccine, such as fever and nausea, may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients.
Norway has given at least one dose to about 42,000 people, with a focus on those considered most at risk if they contract the virus.
According to Bloomberg, U.S. authorities reported 21 cases of severe allergic reactions from December 14 to 23 after administration of about 1.9 million initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
In November, Greg Hunt, Australia’s Minister for Health and Aged Care secured an agreement for 10 million Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses, provided they prove safe and effective.
“We’re proceeding with an abundance of caution,” Hunt told reporters following news of the deaths.
Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency, said there’s no reason to worry, suggesting health authorities had an expectation that some of the elderly would die after being injected.
“We are not alarmed by this,” he said. “It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the most frail patients.”
Madsen went on to say, “This is not frightening. We expected to have some deaths in the nursing homes.”
The Norwegian Medicines Agency has said all deaths were elderly people, over the age of 75, and with serious underlying health conditions.
In other words, we’re being told not to worry about the vaccine for the same reason we’re told to worry about the virus: it’s the elderly and vulnerable who are most at risk. Funny that.