Chinese health experts called on Norway and other countries to suspend the use of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines produced by companies such as Pfizer, especially among elderly people, due to the vaccines' safety uncertainties following the deaths of 23 elderly Norwegian people who received the vaccine, reports Global Times.
Deaths among elderly after the first COVID-19 vaccine dose have risen to 29 in Norway, 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.
“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency said. All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said. “Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”
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. The number has been updated to 29.
A Chinese immunologist told Global Times the new mRNA vaccine was developed in haste and had never been used on a large scale for the prevention of infectious disease, and its safety had not been confirmed for large-scale use in humans.
The death incidents in Norway also proved that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines' efficacy was not as good as expected, experts said.
As of Thursday, Norway has reported 23 deaths in connection with vaccination.
"So far, 13 of these have been assessed. Common side effects may have contributed to a severe course in frail elderly people," the Norwegian Medicines Agency said on its website.
Post-vaccine outbreaks and deaths have been reported in Israel.