On Monday, New Zealand reported its first death linked to the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer.
After an independent vaccine safety monitoring board reviewed information on the death of a woman who received the COVID-19 vaccine, the health ministry released the information. A statement from the ministry did not specify the age of the woman.
An independent board determined that the woman died from myocarditis, caused by the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the statement said. The inflammation of the heart muscle can limit the organ’s ability to pump blood and can affect its rhythm.
“This is the first time that a death following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in New Zealand,” the health ministry said.
In response to an emailed request for comment, the Pfizer media team in New Zealand did not respond immediately.
Health ministry officials said the case has been referred to the coroner and the cause of death has not been determined.
However, the independent board did consider that the vaccination was probably to blame for the myocarditis.
In addition, the board noted that other issues occurred at the same time which may have influenced the outcome following vaccination.
Pfizer said that vaccine benefits greatly outweigh the risks of infection from COVID-19 and vaccine side effects, such as myocarditis.
Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen, and AstraZeneca vaccines have so far been provisionally approved by New Zealand authorities. However, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine that has been approved for rollout to the public.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 has re-emerged in New Zealand after nearly six months of being virus-free.