The New Zealand government reported on Monday (8/30) what it believes to be a Pfizer vaccine-related death against COVID-19.
The official cause has yet to be determined, but an independent vaccine safety monitoring board said it was “probably” due to myocarditis.
This condition is characterized as an inflammation of the heart muscle that can limit the organ’s ability to pump blood and cause changes in the beat rhythm.
This is a rare side effect of this immunizer, according to experts, who stressed that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks associated with adverse events.
The council also noted that the woman had other health problems that could have “influenced the outcome after vaccination”.
“This is the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination was associated with the Pfizer vaccine,” the New Zealand Ministry of Health said in a statement.
“Although the Adverse Reaction Monitoring Center has received other reports of deaths in someone recently vaccinated, none were considered vaccination related.”
An investigation is ongoing, and a coroner is expected to comment on the case. Authorities did not release further details, including the woman’s age.
‘Very rare’ side effect
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said myocarditis is a “very rare” side effect of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The EMA added that side effects are more common in younger men and said people should continue to get vaccinated to prevent serious coronavirus infections.
Symptoms of myocarditis can include chest pain, shortness of breath and abnormal heartbeat.
Experts recommend that anyone who develops these symptoms in the days after vaccination seek immediate medical attention.
Pfizer acknowledged that there may be cases of myocarditis after vaccination, but stressed that they are extremely rare. “Pfizer takes adverse events potentially associated with our vaccine very seriously,” said the company, Reuters. we collect relevant information to share with regulatory authorities around the world.”
New Zealand faces increase in cases
New Zealand officials said they “remain confident about the use [da vacina Pfizer]”.
“The benefits of vaccination with Pfizer’s vaccine continue to outweigh the risk of infection and vaccine side effects, including myocarditis,” said the country’s Ministry of Health.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the country has so far had 3,465 cases of covid-19 and 26 deaths.
New Zealand was initially praised for its pandemic response, but vaccination has progressed slowly, with 23% of the population of 5 million people fully immunized.
A recent increase in cases, attributed to the Delta variant, has placed large parts of the country in confinement. Restrictions are expected to ease on Tuesday (8/31), except in the country’s largest city, Auckland.
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