by Steve WatsonJanuary 15th 2021, 4:12 am

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Reports emerging from Norway indicate that at least twenty three people have died after taking the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, yet the government regulator has said they don’t see anything alarming in the cases.

Norway was one of the first countries to start vaccinating people before the end of last year, beginning in nursing homes with the elderly.

Deaths spur Norway concern at Covid vaccine safety for vulnerable ...

Reports from local media there note that there have been 23 deaths among those who have taken the shot, with 13 so far positively linked to the side effects of the shot.

However, Dr. Steinar Madsen, the medical director of the national drug regulator, the Norwegian Medicines Agency commented “We do not see anything alarming with these figures. All deaths are in elderly and frail people with underlying diseases.”

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The reports also indicate that a further 29 people who took the vaccine have developed significant side effects. Nine of those cases are said to be critical.

The developments prompted the Norwegian Public Health Institute to update its Covid-19 vaccination guidelines to suggest that the benefit of the jab to already ill people “may be marginal or negligible.” 

“For those with the most severe frailty, even relatively mild vaccine side effects can have serious consequences,” the Institute noted, adding “For those who have a very short remaining life span anyway, the benefit of the vaccine may be marginal or irrelevant.”

While there are hundreds of deaths in nursing homes every month, this development is sure to be concerning, given that globally the vaccine is being rolled out to elderly people first.

In the UK, the government has announced that more than a third of people over 80 have already received the jab.

The number equates to over a million people in the UK.

Australian officials seeking information from Pfizer, Norwegian experts after aged care residents die following coronavirus Vaccine


By Dan Conifer, wires Posted 17 Jan 21

A woman wearing a mask and hair net holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australia is proceeding with an abundance of caution.(AP: Christophe Archambault/Pool Photo)

Australian authorities are seeking more information about one of the COVID-19 vaccines set to be used locally, following a warning from officials in Norway.

Key points:

  • Norwegian doctors are being told to “carefully consider” who should be vaccinated
  • Australia has ordered 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine
  • Rollout timeframes for the Pfizer jab in Australia have not changed in light of the Norwegian reports

There have been a small number of deaths among older people in Norway who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and suffered side effects.

The Norwegian Medicines Agency last week reported a total of 29 people had experienced side effects, including 13 who died.

All the deaths occurred among patients in nursing homes and all were over the age of 80.

Doctors in the Scandinavian country are now being instructed to “carefully consider” who should be vaccinated.

Australia has ordered 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he had “immediately sought” more details.Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from January 17 with our coronavirus blog.

“I have been in contact with the Australian medical regulator, the [Therapeutic Goods Administration] TGA, this morning and requested that they seek additional information, both from the company, but also from the Norwegian medical regulator,” he said.

“[Foreign Minister] Marise Payne will task [the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] DFAT to seek advice directly from the Norwegian Government.

“We’re proceeding with an abundance of caution.”

More than 30,000 people have received the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccines in Norway since the end of December.

The country’s medical regulator listed fever and nausea as side effects that may have led to the deaths of some frail patients. [Elderly]

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Locally made AstraZeneca vaccine to be most widely used in Australia, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says.

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In its report, the Norwegian Medicines Agency said that 21 women and eight men had experienced side effects.

“We are not alarmed by this,” the agency’s medical director Steinar Madsen told local broadcaster NRK.

“It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients,” he said.

When will I get the coronavirus vaccine? Who gets the vaccine first?Here’s the plan for who’s getting it first and when you can expect to get the jab.

“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.”

Comment: One Word? Sounds like Anastasia

Beside those who died, the agency said nine had serious side effects, including strong discomfort and severe fever, and seven had less serious side effects.

Earlier last week, a separate Norwegian government health agency said: “Any side effects of the vaccine will be outweighed by a reduced risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 for elderly, frail people.”

In Australia, the Pfizer product is expected to be approved before the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine.

Comment: Why is Pfizer being approved when there are very real concerns with both vacccines?

Mr Hunt said rollout timeframes had not changed in light of the Norwegian reports, with priority groups expected to be inoculated from next month.

“We don’t know yet whether [these deaths are] a function simply of age, and people who are older and sadly facing the natural loss of their life, or whether there’s any causation,” he said.

Australia’s medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, downplayed concerns later on Sunday.

“The deaths were associated with fever, nausea and diarrhoea, which are relatively common short-lived effects that a number of people experience after vaccination,” a spokesperson said.

Comment: Fever, nausea and diarrhoea don’t sound too serious, but were sufficient enough to cause death in some patients

“It is not expected that these common adverse reactions following immunisation will be of significance in the vast majority of individuals vaccinated with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.”

But the TGA said it would consider whether to include specific warnings for very frail elderly people, or people with terminal illnesses.

The Pfizer jab has a reported efficacy of 95 per cent.