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Norway: No link established after post-COVID-19 vaccination deaths, says health authority

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By Euronews with AFP
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A health worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine against the novel coronavirus
A health worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine against the novel coronavirus   -   Copyright  CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP or licensors
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Norway's Public Health Authority has stated that there was no link established between the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the deaths of elderly people who had been vaccinated.

In a report they also recommended a medical evaluation before vaccinating the elderly and very fragile.

Since the start of the vaccination campaign in late December, the Scandinavian country has recorded 33 deaths of elderly people who received a first dose, according to the latest tally from the authorities.

Among the 13 cases studied more closely so far, "these are all people who were very old, frail and had serious illnesses," said the director of the Norwegian public health authority, Camilla Stoltenberg.

"Regarding the cause of death there was no analysis," she also said.

"The most important thing is to remember that there are 45 people who die every day in medical facilities in Norway. So it is not established that there is excess mortality or that it is related to vaccines."

However Norway has reiterated in recent days its recommendation for a medical evaluation before the vaccine is administered to a very fragile or dying person, as is already the case in other countries.

"It is not impossible that some of those who are offered vaccination are so fragile...that it is not worth the trouble to vaccinate them because they can potentially see their condition deteriorate because of the effects normal secondary," Stoltenberg said on Monday.

The Norwegian drug authority raised concerns late last week by claiming that usual side effects of messenger RNA vaccines, such as fever and nausea, may "have contributed to a fatal outcome in some fragile patients" in the country.

Several countries have reported post-vaccination deaths but health authorities believe that no link can be made with the vaccine.

Pfizer and BioNTech told AFP on Monday they would "work with the Norwegian drug agency to gather all the relevant information", recalling that the Norwegian vaccination campaign started with the elderly living in medical establishments.

“Most of them are very old with illnesses and some are terminally ill,” Pfizer said.

Euronews reporter Per Bergfors Nyberg says officials are concerned that the news could be used as anti-vax propaganda but added that reassurance from the authorities is having a calming effect.

The message given out from Norwegian authorities is that this is not affecting the vaccine rollout, it’s not even affecting the overall acceptance of taking the vaccine in Norway.

Norway, in general, is a country, like most Nordic countries, where people happily take vaccines.

According to the latest tally available, more than 48,000 people have been vaccinated in Norway, out of a population of 5.4 million.