Authorities play down vaccine link to woman’s death

 

An elderly woman has died at a Logan aged care facility after receiving her COVID-19 vaccination.

The 82-year-old, who was living at the Yurana aged care facility in Springwood, had her vaccine about 10am on Wednesday, with police receiving a call about 1.30pm.

It's unclear if the vaccine has any link to the woman's death, however health authorities are confident it was unrelated as she suffered other health issues including lung disease.

It is understood she received the Pfizer vaccine.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said the woman's death was being investigated but at this stage there were no signs of any causal link to the vaccine.

"Sadly more than 1000 people pass in aged care every week. It is inevitable that this will include people who have been recently vaccinated," Prof Kelly said.

"Any event that happens following vaccination is fully investigated.

"The medical experts and the Therapeutic Goods Administration will review the specifics of such cases and reach a conclusion based on the facts.

Yurana aged care facility at Springwood
Yurana aged care facility at Springwood

 

"It can be expected that older and more frail people in an aged care setting may pass away due to progression of underlying disease or natural causes, this does not mean the vaccine has contributed to this.

"The TGA will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines as they are rolled out in Australia and internationally."

A police spokesman said it was a non-suspicious death but could not comment further.

A report would be prepared for the coroner.

A Blue Care employee confirmed that a woman had died after receiving the vaccine earlier yesterday morning.

A Blue Care spokesman said: "Due to privacy considerations we're unable to comment on the specific circumstances of any of our residents."

Comment has been sought from the Federal Health Department, which is responsible for rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to aged care residents and the staff caring for them.

The Federal Government was planning to ramp up vaccinations in Queensland aged care facilities this week, with 10,500 vaccine doses scheduled to be delivered in 150 nursing homes.

In January, Norway reported 33 post-vaccination deaths involving the Pfizer jab.

Authorities there said no link had been established between Pfizer and the deaths, but recommended doctors consider the overall health of frail people before administering the jab.

At the time, Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke with Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg and was assured the vaccine was safe.

Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration said it was working with Norwegian authorities and the deaths were associated with fever, nausea and diarrhoea "which are relatively common short-lived effects that a number of people experience after vaccination".

In February, the TGA concluded "there is no specific risk of vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in elderly patients".

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said Australian officials had worked closely with Norway to ensure the safety of Australia's rollout.

"They do point out … that in Norway in a normal week 400 people do pass away in their aged care facilities, so this has to be put in the context of what has happened after people have received vaccines," Prof Kelly said at the time.

According to the Department of Health, rare but serious side effects from the Pfizer vaccine include anaphylaxis and Bell's palsy.

Common side effects include pain or swelling at the injection site, tiredness, headache, joint pain, chills and fever.

Less common is nausea and enlarged lymph nodes.

"These side effects are usually mild and usually go away within one or two days," the Department of Health's vaccination information sheet says.

Originally published as Elderly woman dies hours after receiving COVID-19 vaccine



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