Wednesday, September 28, 2022

New Zealand Ministry of Health links death to Pfizer vaccine

By Praveen Menon | Reuters

WELLINGTON-The New Zealand Ministry of Health said on Monday that New Zealand reported its first death related to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after a woman developed a rare side effect of myocardial inflammation.

The report comes as the country is battling the outbreak of the delta variant of the coronavirus after being virus-free for nearly six months. It was conducted after a review by an independent team that monitored the safety of the vaccine.

The ministry said in a statement: “This is the first New Zealand case where deaths within a few days after vaccination are related to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine,” the ministry said in a statement, but did not provide the woman’s age.

The ministry added that the vaccine monitoring team attributed the death to myocarditis, a rare but known side effect of Pfizer’s vaccine.

According to the Ministry of Health, the committee stated that myocarditis “may be caused by vaccination.” The Ministry of Health said that at the same time other medical issues may affect the results after vaccination.

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, which limits the ability of the organs to pump blood and may cause changes in the rhythm of the heartbeat.

Pfizer said it recognizes that rare reports of myocarditis may occur after vaccination, but such side effects are extremely rare.

“Pfizer attaches great importance to adverse events that may be related to our vaccines,” the company said.

“The benefits of vaccinating Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine continue to greatly outweigh the risks of COVID-19 infection and vaccine side effects (including myocarditis),” Pfizer said.

Regulators in the United States, the European Union, and the World Health Organization said that Pfizer, German partners BioNTech and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines are related to rare cases of myocarditis or pericarditis, which is an inflammation of the lining around the heart, but the benefits of injection outweigh any risks .

These cases mainly affect young men and are often mild and treatable, but may lead to serious illness and hospitalization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday that in the United States, there have been no reports of deaths among young people who developed myocarditis after receiving mRNA vaccines.

In addition, it said that a total of 2,574 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis have been reported in the United States. The United States has received more than 330 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

After receiving the second dose of Pfizer, the risk of myocarditis for people aged 18 to 24 was 18.5 parts per million, while among Moderna second dose recipients, the risk of myocarditis in this age group was 20.2 parts per million. According to the CDC’s analysis based on its national reporting system, the risk decreases with age.

The European Union’s drug regulatory agency said on July 9 that after receiving either of the two mRNA vaccines in the European Economic Area, five people have died due to cardiac side effects, all of whom are elderly or suffering from other diseases. More than 200 million doses of mRNA have been administered in this area.

New Zealand has temporarily approved the use of Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines, but only Pfizer vaccines have been approved for release to the public. To date, more than 3 million doses have been injected, mainly for people over 50.

New Zealand reported 53 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, and the total number of infections in the current outbreak reached 562 in the nationwide lockdown imposed this month to limit the spread of the Delta variant.

Nation World News Desk
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