In south Cyprus, 12,000 people aged over 80 have received their first Pfizer vaccine with no reported side effects, Chief Health Officer at the Greek Cypriot Ministry of Health Dr. Olga Kalakouta, has said. There are 21,00 remaining in that age group having the vaccine against Covid-19. Vaccination of this group will be completed by mid-February, Dr. Kalakouta said. She added that provided there are no setbacks, the next age group between 75 and 80 will be vaccinated.
All of the vaccines are from Pfizer-BioNTec, she noted and there have been no reported side effects.
Responding to a question regarding reports of the deaths of 23 people who had died from the side effects of the Pfizer vaccine in Norway, she said that there had been no official information regarding this event.
According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), doctors in Norway have been told to conduct more thorough evaluations of very frail elderly patients in line to receive the Pfizer BioNTec vaccine against covid-19, following the deaths of 23 patients shortly after receiving the vaccine.
“It may be a coincidence, but we aren’t sure,” Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told The BMJ. “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.”
The agency has investigated 13 of the deaths so far and concluded that common adverse reactions of mRNA vaccines, such as fever, nausea, and diarrhoea, may have contributed to fatal outcomes in some of the frail patients.
“There is a possibility that these common adverse reactions, that are not dangerous in fitter, younger patients and are not unusual with vaccines, may aggravate underlying disease in the elderly,” Madsen said. “We are not alarmed or worried about this, because these are very rare occurrences and they occurred in very frail patients with very serious disease,” he emphasised. “We are now asking for doctors to continue with the vaccination, but to carry out extra evaluation of very sick people whose underlying condition might be aggravated by it.” This evaluation includes discussing the risks and benefits of vaccination with the patient and their families to decide whether or not vaccination is the best course.
More than 20 000 doses of the vaccine have been administered over the past few weeks in Norway and around 400 deaths normally occur among care home residents every week.
Kibris Postasi, BMJ