Update: Deaths among elderly in Norway after the first COVID-19 vaccine dose have risen to 29, reports Bloomberg. The latest figure adds six to the number of known fatalities in Norway, and also lowers the age group thought to be affected from 80.
Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway, and “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine,” the Norwegian Medicines Agency said in a written response to Bloomberg on Saturday.
The New York Post cited health officials who reported 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.
Chief Physician Dr. Sigurd Hortemo Friday said common reactions to the vaccine, including fever and nausea, “may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients.”
All 13 were nursing home patients and at least 80 years old. The news comes a week after officials reported the deaths of just two nursing home residents after they received the Pfizer shot.
Norwegian Medicines Agency Medical Director Steinar Madsen reacted by saying: “We are not alarmed by this. It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk."
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.