Hyderabad: Since Norway launched its COVID-19 vaccination drive on 27 December, there have been reports that 23 people have died in the Scandinavian country days after receiving the first dose of Pfizer's vaccine.
According to a Facebook post, of the 23 dead, 13 were nursing home patients who reportedly died due to side effects from the vaccine. The post further read, "Weak and delicate patients are prone to common reactions like fever and nausea, according to a chief physician at the Norwegian Medicines Agency. The 13 patients from the nursing home were at least 80 years old and this raises a question on who should be given the vaccine. The Covid-19 vaccines Pfizer and Moderna appear to be having little risk, but the frail patients are an exception to that (sic)."
The claim that 23 people have died in Norway after receiving Pfizer's COVID -19 vaccine is TRUE.
According to a statement published by the Norwegian Medicines Agency, 23 people died in Norway within days of receiving the first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. Thirteen of them were nursing home patients.
"The reports suggest that common adverse reactions to mRNA vaccines, such as fever and nausea, may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients," said Sigurd Hortemo, the chief physician at the Norwegian Medicines Agency.
The Agency's statement further said, "All deaths that occur within the first few days of vaccination are carefully assessed. We cannot rule out that adverse reactions to the vaccine occurring within the first days following vaccination (such as fever and nausea) may contribute to more serious course and fatal outcome in patients with severe underlying disease."
The Norwegian Medicines Agency and the National Institute of Public Health jointly assesses all reports of suspected adverse reactions. As a result, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has updated the COVID-19 vaccination guide with more detailed advice on vaccinating the elderly who are frail.
As of 14 January, 23 reports of suspected deaths have been submitted to the Norwegian ADR health registry. The figures in the published report include the 13 reports that have been assessed by the Norwegian Medicines Agency and the National Institute of Public Health. Several reports of suspected adverse reactions are received on a daily basis and are continuously assessed.
According to an article by NY Post, a total of 29 people had suffered side effects, including the 13 who died. Twenty-one women and eight men experienced side effects, officials confirmed.
Besides those who died, nine had serious side effects, including allergic reactions, strong discomfort, and severe fever while seven had less serious ones, including severe pain at the injection site. Health officials noted that around 400 people die each week in the nursing home population.
A Pfizer representative said the pharmaceutical giant is "aware of reported deaths" following the administration of the vaccine in Norway and is working with the Norwegian Medicines Agency "to gather all the relevant information."
"Norwegian authorities have prioritized the immunization of residents in nursing homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some which are terminally ill," a spokeswoman said in a statement. "[The Norwegian Medicine Agency confirms] the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations."
Another report said Norway vaccinated the weakest and most vulnerable who have serious diseases. "Then there will probably be deaths close to the time of vaccination. We must then assess whether it is the vaccine that is the cause of the death, or whether it is a coincidence that it happens so soon after vaccination," said medical director Steinar Madsen.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health monitors mortality in the Norwegian population. The Norwegian Medicines Agency and the National Institute of Public Health follow up all reports of suspected side effects, including death, to assess the causal link.
Norway has launched an investigation into the deaths of two nursing home residents after they received Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. The Norwegian Medicines Agency said the deaths occurred "a few days" after they were administered the shot.
Norwegian officials have adjusted their advice on who gets the COVID-19 vaccine in light of the deaths of older people, leaving it up to each doctor to consider who should be vaccinated.
Across the world, officials expect deaths and other severe side effects to be reported after any mass vaccination campaign, given the huge numbers of people involved. But determining whether or not the vaccine caused deaths can be very challenging and require that all other potential causes are ruled out first.
The United Kingdom and the United States have also reported a number of cases of side effects that had fatal consequences.
Though it is TRUE that 23 people died after COVID-19 vaccination, it is yet to be proved that these deaths are due to the vaccination and NOT other health complications, as all the deceased are older patients living in nursing homes.