New Zealand has reported the first death linked to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The female recipient died after the vaccine caused her to get myocarditis.
The Straits Times reported that on Monday, the health ministry in New Zealand released information on the death that was gathered by an independent COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring board.
“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,” read a statement from the health ministry.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the lining of the heart muscle. It can affect the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently and cause arrhythmias. It is a known rare, seriously adverse side effect of the Pfizer vaccine. The disease can generally be treated, and sufferers can go on to live a healthy life.
Although the monitoring board has linked the death to the vaccine, the cause of death has not been determined, and they are awaiting an examination by the coroner.
The health ministry has confirmed that the board considered that the myocarditis was “probably” caused by the shot.
“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 ministry added.
Pfizer recently received full FDA approval for their vaccine in individuals aged 16 and up and is in the process of trying to achieve the same for individuals aged 12-15.
New Zealand was free of all coronavirus cases for about six months before the country was hit hard with the delta variant of the disease. The country went back into lockdown over a single case, and within days, the number had soared to 347. As of Friday, only one of those people was in intensive care.
Pfizer representatives in New Zealand have not responded to the fatal case of myocarditis. Jannsen and Astra-Zeneca are the other two provisionally approved vaccines in the country.