New Zealand officials announced on Monday that a 26-year-old’s death has been formally linked to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after he suffered a rare heart inflammation following his first dose of the Covid jab.
In a statement, the country’s Covid-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board, confirmed the myocarditis that had led to his death “was probably due to vaccination.”
The man died within two weeks of receiving his first dose, and had not sought any medical advice or treatment for his symptoms. Myocarditis, which is listed as a rare potential side effect of the Pfizer jab, causes an inflammation of the heart muscle, restricting blood flow and causing irregular heartbeats.
His death is the second in New Zealand that has been linked to this side effect. In August, a woman suffered a rare heart muscle inflammation after she received the Pfizer vaccine, according to a statement from the Health Ministry, and it led to her death.
While they have not yet been formally linked to the Pfizer vaccine, officials said they were investigating reports of two further deaths of individuals who had been administered the jab, including of a 13-year-old. While the safety monitoring board said more information about the child’s death was still required, the New Zealand authorities said they believed it was unlikely the second case – the death of a man in his 60s – had been due to the vaccine.
While Pfizer did not release a statement in response to the latest development, a company spokesperson stated that the pharmaceutical giant was aware of the reports but still believed the benefits of the vaccine outweighed any risks.
Since beginning its inoculation campaign, New Zealand has administered 7,855,438 Covid jabs, according to data provided to the World Health Organization. While it primarily uses the Pfizer vaccine, officials have also approved the use of those made by Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca.