As many as 29 people died after being administered Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in Norway, reports claimed. Most of the people who lost their lives were senior citizens above the age of 80.
This comes just days after Norwegian officials updated the country’s Covid-19 vaccination guidelines on who can and cannot be vaccinated. Now the authorities have left it up to individual doctors to decide who can get the Covid-19 vaccine and who cannot.
Apart from the 29 fatalities, many others have also reported severe side effects, the Norwegian Medicines Agency said, earlier this week.
As of Thursday the country had reported 23 deaths and all the patients were residents of nursing homes, above the age of 80, officials said.
The agency listed fever and nausea as side effects which “may have led to the deaths of some frail patients,” Sigurd Hortemo of the Norwegian Medicines Agency said.
More than 30,000 people have received the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine in the Scandinavian country since the end of December, according to official figures.
“Doctors must now carefully consider who should be vaccinated. Those who are very frail and at the very end of life can be vaccinated after an individual assessment,” Steinar Madsen, medical director with the agency, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
Earlier this week, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said that “any side effects of the vaccine will be outweighed by a reduced risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 for elderly, frail people.” It added that “for very frail patients and terminally ill patients, a careful balance of benefit versus disadvantage of vaccination is recommended.” In its report, the Norwegian Medicines Agency said that 21 women and eight men had side effects. Beside those who died, the agency said nine had serious side effects without a fatal consequence and seven had less serious side effects. The nine patients had allergic reactions, strong discomfort and severe fever while the less serious side effects included severe pain at the injection site.
Overall, Norway has seen 57,279 cases and reported 511 deaths.
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 Friday that it will receive and consider monthly safety reports from companies authorized to sell vaccines, starting in January with the Pfizer jab.
(With AP inputs)