New Zealand on Monday reported the country’s first death linked to the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer.
The ministry of health said the woman died from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle and a known side effect of the Pfizer shot.
The nation’s independent Covid-19 vaccine monitor told the ministry that it considers the cause of the heart inflation to “probably” be due to the vaccine, but added that “there were other medical issues occurring at the same time, which may have influenced the outcome following vaccination.”
The case has been referred to the coroner’s office, which has yet to determine the cause of death, it said, adding that it will not further comment on the case until then.
There have been other reports of death in the country in the days after the patients received the vaccine, but this is the first to be directly linked to the Pfizer shot, it said, adding that the benefits of the vaccine “continue to greatly outweigh the risk of both Covid-19 infection and vaccine side effects, including myocarditis.”
“The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective in protecting against serious illness and death from Covid-19, and we remain confident about using it in New Zealand,” Dr. John Tait, the chair of the independent vaccine monitoring board, said in a statement.
The announcement of the death was made as the country combats surging cases in the northern city of Auckland.
The city has a total of 547 community cases including an additional 53 announced by health officials on Monday.
The ministry of health said it has identified seven sub-clusters within the outbreak with the two largest being the Birkdal Social Network cluster of 79 confirmed cases and the Mangere church cluster of 280.
The country has reported a total of 3,519 confirmed and probable infections to the pandemic, including 26 deaths.