Deaths not caused by Sinovac coronavirus vaccine, panel says
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
A panel of experts said on Wednesday that the death of a man who had received a Sinovac jab was probably not linked to the vaccine, but caused by the cardiovascular disease he had suffered from, RTHK reports.
The man, 60, was vaccinated on March 11 and died on Wednesday.
He's the 10th local person to die after inoculation. Nine of the cases involved Sinovac and one involved BioNTech.
Lee Cheuk-kwong – a member of the panel looking into irregularities in relation to the vaccination program – said they have looked at the medical history of the latest fatality, and found that he had suffered from conditions including hypertension, hyperlipidemia and carotid artery disease.
“Based on his medical history and the symptoms, we believe that there may be a high possibility of cardiovascular disease leading to his death but certainly we need to obtain more information and also may have the post-mortem report to make sure what is the cause of his death,” Lee said.
The panel also concluded that the death of an elderly woman 17 days after she received a Sinovac shot was not linked to the vaccine.
They said the woman, 80, had suffered from diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease and other chronic conditions. She was inoculated on March 2 and died on March 19.
On a man who died after receiving the BioNTech jab, the panel said its preliminary assessment showed it was probably related to his medical history.
The man, 66, was vaccinated on March 16 and passed away three days later.
The experts noted he had suffered from conditions including diabetes and hypertension, adding they will make a more detailed assessment once his autopsy report is available.
At a press conference, the panel was also asked about nine people reportedly developing Bell's palsy – a temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in the face – after being vaccinated with either the Sinovac or BioNTech vaccine.
Another expert, Ivan Hung, said the figures so far don’t seem to suggest any irregularities, but the panel will continue to monitor the situation.
He said if the number of cases persistently exceeds the baseline for several months, they will consider whether there’s a need to alert the vaccine manufacturers.
Hung also sought to allay concerns over the suspension of the BioNTech inoculation drive, calling it a “very minor hiccup in terms of the vaccination programme”.
He said he expects the programme to resume in the near future.
Vaccination of BioNTech shots was suspended as the drug manufacturer conducts an investigation into packaging defects among a batch of jabs used in Hong Kong, but there is no suggestion that the shots themselves pose any safety risk.