Thirty-three people who died after getting a
Norway’s medicine agency sought to reassure people on Monday after reports at the weekend showed a number of elderly people had died after getting the Pfizer jab.
‘All of these patients have had serious underlying illnesses,’ the agency’s medical director Steinar Madsen told
‘Clearly Covid is far more dangerous to most patients than vaccination. We are not alarmed.’
Thirty-three people who died after getting a Covid-19 vaccine in Norway were all seriously ill already and there is no evidence of a direct link to the jab, officials have said [Stock image]
Madsen acknowledged that the mild side effects of the vaccine could theoretically ‘tip the patients into a more serious course’ of an illness they already had.
And health officials said it would now be up to doctors to decide whether elderly and already-ill patients would benefit from having the jab.
But officials also pointed out that an average of 400 people die every week in nursing and care facilities in Norway, with Madsen adding that the reported deaths made up around 1 in 1,000 of the people vaccinated at care homes.
All deaths within the first few days of receiving a vaccine are assessed, the Norwegian Medicines Agency said in
Reported side effects of the Pfizer vaccine in Norway include fatigue, nausea, dizziness and muscle pain.
On Friday, the Norwegian Medicines Agency reported that of the fatalities, 13 had been autopsied and showed signs of suffering such side effects.
Norwegian officials now say that medical workers should consider with each patient ‘whether the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of eventual side effects’.
Norway’s medicine agency said it was unsurprising that some of the frail and elderly people who were first to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would have died around the same time by chance. Pictured: Svein Andersen, 67, was the first person in Norway to receive the vaccine on December 27 at the Ellingsrud home care home [File photo]
Large studies on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine did not include patients with unstable or acute illness – and included few participants over 85 years of age, the Norwegian Medicines Agency’s statement read.
Overall, Norway has seen 58,651 cases and reported 517 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic began.
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 requires that all other potential causes be ruled out first.
The United Kingdom and the United States have also reported a number of cases of side effects that had fatal consequences.
The European Medicines Agency said on Friday that it would receive and consider monthly safety reports from companies authorised to sell vaccines, starting in January with the Pfizer jab.