'Common reactions to the vaccine, including fever and nausea, may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients,' say health officials
Twenty-three people died in Norway within days of receiving their first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, with 13 of those deaths — all nursing home patients — apparently related to the side effects of the shots, Norwegian health officials said.
Common reactions to the vaccine, including fever and nausea, “may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients,” Sigurd Hortemo, chief physician at the Norwegian Medicines Agency, said in a Friday statement.
The news comes just over a week after officials reported the deaths of just two nursing home residents after they received the Pfizer jab.
More than 30,000 people in Norway have received the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine in the Scandinavian country since late last month, according to official figures.
“We are not alarmed by this,” Steinar Madsen, medical director with the agency, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients.”
“Doctors must now carefully consider who should be vaccinated,” he added. “Those who are very frail and at the very end of life can be vaccinated after an individual assessment.”
Norway probes deaths of two nursing home residents who got Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. The agency reported Thursday that a total of 29 people had suffered side effects, including the 13 people who died.
Twenty-one women and eight men experienced side effects, officials said.
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.
In total, more than 57,000 cases and 500 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Norway, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Health officials noted that around 400 people die each week in the nursing home population.