Authorities in New Zealand announced the country’s first recorded death linked to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine on Monday.
“This is the first case where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine,” the health ministry said.
The information was released by the health ministry following a review by an independent Covid-19 vaccine safety monitoring board of the death of a woman after receiving the vaccine.
According to the statement, the board determined that the woman died of myocarditis, an uncommon side effect of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination. Myocarditis is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed, limiting the organ’s ability to pump blood and causing irregular heartbeats.
“This is the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine,” the health ministry said.
The case has been referred to the coroner and the cause of death has not yet been determined, the health ministry added.
However, the independent board concluded that the myocarditis was most likely caused by the immunization.
The board also observed that other medical concerns were present at the time, which could have altered the vaccination’s outcome.
“The benefits of vaccination with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine continue to greatly outweigh the risk of both Covid-19 infection and vaccine side effects, including myocarditis,” it said.
So far the Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen and AstraZeneca vaccines have been provisionally approved by New Zealand authorities. However, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine that has been approved for rollout to the public.
New Zealand is battling an outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19 after nearly six months of being virus free.
It reported 53 new cases on Monday, taking the total number of infections in the current outbreak to 562.
A nationwide lockdown was enforced earlier this month to beat the spread of the Delta variant