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Norway vaccine deaths: Pfizer downplays safety concerns; says number of incidents not alarming

Norway vaccine deaths: Pfizer downplays safety concerns; says number of incidents not alarming

Norway vaccine deaths: Pfizer downplays safety concerns; says number of incidents not alarming
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By CNBCTV18.com Jan 18, 2021 5:24:54 PM IST (Updated)

Pharma major Pfizer has downplayed safety concerns following 29 deaths in Norway after the victims were administered its vaccine codenamed BNT162b2 – being developed along with Germany's BioNTech.

Pharma major Pfizer has downplayed safety concerns following 29 deaths in Norway after the victims were administered its vaccine codenamed BNT162b2 – being developed along with Germany's BioNTech. Citing Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), the company said that the number of incidents so far was not alarming and was in line with expectations.

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Initially, 23 deaths were reported -- all from the age group of over 80 years. However, later additions lowered the age group, which was affected to 75. NOMA is investigating the deaths.
Pfizer said they are working with the Norwegian agency to gather all relevant information. "Pfizer and BioNTech are aware of reported deaths following administration of BNT162b2. Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved families," a statement from Pfizer read.
"Norwegian authorities have prioritised the immunisation of residents in Nursing Homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some who are terminally ill. NOMA confirms the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations," the statement added.
Pfizer said that all the deaths will be thoroughly evaluated to "determine if these incidents are related to the vaccine".
The company further said that the Norwegian government is considering adjusting their instructions on who should be administered the vaccine, taking into account the patients' health conditions.
Earlier, NOMA asserted that it was not alarmed by the incident. "It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients," Medical Director Steinar Madsen was quoted as saying by AP. After the assessment of the first few cases of death, the agency said that all of them were related to elderly people with serious basic disorders.
So far, more than 42,000 people in Norway have been administered the first dose of the vaccine. The country is focusing on people at high risk, including the elderly to get inoculated.
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