Norwegian health officials say there is no evidence of a direct link between the recent spate of deaths among older people vaccinated against COVID-19 and the vaccine they received.
The Norwegian Medicines Agency is seeking to address fears that taking the vaccine could be too risky, after 33 people in the country aged 75 and over died after vaccination, according to the agency’s latest figures. All were already seriously ill, he said.
“Obviously, Covid-19 is much more dangerous for most patients than vaccination,” Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency, said on Monday. “We are not alarmed.”
Initial reports from Norway made international headlines as the world searches for the first signs of potential vaccine side effects. Until Friday, Norway had only used the vaccine provided by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, and the companies are now working with the Nordic country to investigate the deaths. The first European safety report on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to be published at the end of January.
“All of these patients had serious underlying illnesses,” Madsen said. “We cannot say that people are dying from the vaccine. It can be said that it may be a coincidence. It is difficult to prove that the vaccine is the direct cause. “
Sam Fazeli, Bloomberg Intelligence Senior Industry Analyst, Says: “The concept of limiting Covid-19 vaccinations to people under 75 is not supported by US data covering more than 14 million people vaccinated, according to our analysis, although Norway reports much higher death rate after using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The excessive deaths in Norway suggest that they are in subjects with serious and uncontrolled illnesses. “
Norway has administered at least one dose to around 42,000 people, focusing on those considered most at risk if they contract the virus, including the elderly. Madsen says it’s possible that the side effects of the vaccination could, in some cases, “tip patients into a more serious course of the underlying disease.” We cannot rule this out. He says Norway has already vaccinated all nursing home patients, “more or less,” and the reported deaths are “well below 1 in 1,000”.
Madsen said he did not expect a different result with another vaccine, from Moderna Inc., which was introduced in Norway on Friday. Like the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, it uses messenger RNA technology that teaches cells in the body to fight infection.
The Norwegian Medicines Agency says it made it clear before the start of the vaccination program that “deaths are expected to occur in a time-related context with vaccination” for those “older and older. patients’ receiving vaccination.
– With the help of Stephen Treloar and Naomi Kresge.
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