New Zealand Says Man’s Death May Be Linked to Pfizer Vaccine

Carolyn Crist

December 20, 2021

Health officials in New Zealand believe a 26-year-old man’s death may be linked to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Bloomberg News reporting, the man died within 2 weeks of his first vaccine dose. An early review shows that the probable cause of death was myocarditis, which is a rare adverse reaction to the vaccine that inflames the heart muscle wall.

“With the current available information, the Board has considered that the myocarditis was probably due to vaccination in this individual,” New Zealand’s COVID-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board said in a statement to Bloomberg on Monday.

The board said that “COVID-19 infection can itself be a cause of myocarditis as well as other serious illnesses and it remains safer to be vaccinated than to be infected with the virus.”

The man’s death marks the second in New Zealand that may be linked to COVID-19 vaccines, Bloomberg reported. In late August, a woman died from myocarditis, which the board said was likely due to vaccination. Two other people — a 13-year-old child and a man in his 60s — have also died with potential myocarditis, though they may not have been related to vaccination.

“The benefits of vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 continue to greatly outweigh the risk of such rare side effects,” the board told Bloomberg.

According to a late November update by the World Health Organization (WHO), myocarditis is “very rare” but has been reported after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The cases have been more common in young men aged 16-24 after the second dose of the vaccine, typically within a few days after vaccination.

“Available data suggest that the cases of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination are generally mild and respond to conservative treatment, and are less severe with better outcomes than classical myocarditis or COVID-19,” the WHO wrote. “The risk of myocarditis associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection is higher than the risk after vaccination.”

According to a mid-November update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the public health agency is monitoring reports of myocarditis. Most patients who have received care for myocarditis responded well to medicine and rest, according to the federal agency.

“CDC continues to recommend that everyone ages 5 years and older get vaccinated for COVID-19,” it wrote. “The known risks of COVID-19 illness and its related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death, far outweigh the potential risks of having a rare adverse reaction to vaccination, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis.”

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