The World Health Organisation has said that the Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) vaccine is safe for the elderly despite reports of deaths in Norway. WHO said that the deaths are not attributed to the vaccine and urged vaccination with the vaccine to continue.
WHO says Pfizer vaccine is safe
On Friday, WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety indicated that the reported deaths “are in line with the expected, all-cause mortality rates and cause of death in the sub-population of frail, elderly individuals.” However, there is no supportive evidence confirming that the vaccine contributed to the deaths and as a result, the vaccine’s risk-benefit balance is still favorable for aged individuals.
The panel had met on Tuesday to look at reports that some sick elderly individuals who received the vaccine had died. There was concern from the initial cases reported in Norway where authorities indicated that the vaccine might have had side effects that aggravated underlying illnesses. They expected that nursing home residents that received the vaccine could die after receiving the shot due to underlying health issues.
Norway says deaths among elderly in nursing homes not concerning
Most countries have prioritized vaccination of the elderly in care homes in the first round since this population group is more vulnerable to COVID-19 leading to hospitalization and death. The Norwegian Medicines Agency has been investigating around 23 death cases that occurred in nursing homes following vaccination. The Norwegian Health Ministry dispelled the claims on Monday stating that there was no need for concern regarding the safety of the vaccine.
According to the Ministry, every week there are around 300 nursing home deaths reported of elderly people. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) said that fatal incidents among the frail elderly patients after vaccination do not show a correlation between death and COVID-19 vaccination. Health and Care Services Minister, Bent Hole said that the reported deaths were among very frail, elderly patients and residents in nursing homes this there is no need for concern regarding vaccine safety.