The British government reports that more than 240 people have died shortly after vaccination against the coronavirus. Read here. British citizens who died after vaccination were reportedly given either Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine or AstraZeneca’s vaccine. These vaccine candidates were approved by the UK regulator and subsequently used in mass vaccination campaigns. Despite this, the UK government says it does not believe the vaccines are responsible for the deaths.
Vaccine side effects
In a detailed report published on 11 February, the UK government detailed all side effects reported by both healthcare professionals and COVID-19 vaccine recipients themselves. The scope of the report included all cases between the beginning of December 2020 and the end of January 2021. Read here.
According to the announcement, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) received 143 reports of adverse reactions attributable to Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine. There were 90 adverse reactions reported for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is manufactured in collaboration with Oxford University. There were three reactions in which the vaccine brand was not named. In addition, a total of eight miscarriages were reported after COVID-19 vaccination – five for Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine and three for AstraZeneca’s candidate.
To further monitor vaccine safety in parallel with mass vaccination, the MHRA introduced a Yellow Card Scheme to collect reports of suspected adverse reactions. More than 20,000 Yellow Card reports were associated with Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine. There were 11,748 Yellow Card reports for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which was launched on January 4 last year. In 72 reports, the brand of the vaccine was not specified.
Elderly people or those with underlying diseases accounted for the majority of reports. However, the government said neither vaccine played a role in the deaths, based on a review of individual reports and reporting patterns.
The report mentioned that for both vaccines, an overwhelming majority reported injection site reactions, such as sore arms and general symptoms. These general symptoms included headache, chills, fatigue, fever, dizziness, and muscle aches. These occur shortly after vaccination and are not associated with more serious illnesses. However, “spontaneous adverse reactions associated with anaphylaxis or anaphylactoid reactions” were also reported – 130 for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 30 for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine linked to deaths in other countries
According to the report, more than 9.2 million first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in four countries that include the UK. Meanwhile, 494,209 second doses have been administered in the four territories.
The UK is not the only country to have reported deaths following the COVID-19 vaccination. A number of medical personnel also died after being vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus – mainly with Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine.
Florida obstetrician Dr. Gregory Michael died in January after being inoculated with the first dose of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. The 56-year-old received his first dose on December 18, then small spots appeared on his hands and feet three days after vaccination. He then went to the emergency room at his workplace, Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he was admitted. Doctors then found that the obstetrician had no more platelets.
Although he underwent transfusions to restore his platelet count, it did little to help Michael. He eventually suffered a stroke and died while undergoing a last-minute surgical procedure. Michael’s wife, Heidi Neckelmann, said, “In my opinion, his death was 100 percent related to the vaccine. There is no other explanation.”
In Portugal, nurse Sonia Acevedo died just two days after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The 41-year-old mother of two children, who worked at the Portuguese Institute of Oncology (IPO) in Porto, had experienced no adverse effects after the vaccination. Acevedo was one of more than 500 employees at the IPO in Porto who were vaccinated against COVID-19 with Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine.
Sonia’s father Abilio Acevedo said his daughter was “doing fine” and had no health problems. “She had the COVID-19 vaccine, but she had no symptoms,” he noted. Abilio went on to say that he and his daughter even had dinner together on New Year’s Eve, not knowing that it would be the last time he would see her alive. He later received a call informing him that Sonia was found dead on the morning of January 1. “My daughter left the house and I never saw her alive again,” he lamented.
Sonia’s daughter Vania Figueredo, meanwhile, said her mother only complained of the “normal” discomfort at the injection site. Figueredo added that aside from that complaint, her mother felt fine.