New Zealand reports first death linked to Pfizer vaccine

The case has been referred to the coroner and the cause of death has not yet been determined

Wellington: New Zealand health authorities reported what they believe to be the country’s first death linked to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

A woman died from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle wall, following her Pfizer vaccination, New Zealand’s Covid-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board said in an emailed statement on Monday. It said myocarditis is known to be a rare side effect of the Pfizer vaccine.

The case has been referred to the coroner and the cause of death has not yet been determined, however the board “considered that the myocarditis was probably due to vaccination,” it said. “This is the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.”

New Zealand is currently in a national lockdown due to a community outbreak of the highly infectious delta strain of Covid-19. It is ramping up what has been one of the slowest vaccine rollouts in the developed world, and is only using Pfizer. More than 3.3 million doses of the two-dose vaccine have so far been administered, enough to fully immunize about 23% of the population.

“The benefits of vaccination with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine continue to greatly outweigh the risk of both Covid-19 infection and vaccine side effects, including myocarditis,” the board said. “The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective in protecting against serious illness and death from Covid-19, and we remain confident about using it in New Zealand.”

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