NZ records 'probable' Pfizer death, mulls new restrictions

·2-min read

A woman has died in New Zealand from inflammation of the heart, known to be an exceptionally rare side-effect of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

On Monday, New Zealand's health ministry advised a woman had died due to myocarditis.

NZ's Covid-19 vaccine monitoring agency, CV-ISMB, believes the condition was "probably due to vaccination", noting the woman suffered other medical issues around the time of her death.

Around 3.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in NZ. This is the first death believed to be linked to the rollout.

"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," the health ministry statement read.

The woman has pre-existing health issues. Source: Getty
The woman has pre-existing health issues. Source: Getty

An official cause of death will be determined by the coroner.

"The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective in protecting against serious illness and death from Covid-19, and we remain confident about using it in New Zealand," John Tait, CV-ISMB chair, said.

NZ sees first drop in daily new cases

New Zealand may have turned the corner in its Covid-19 outbreak after recording 53 daily cases, down from 83 the previous day.

Monday's result is the first time case numbers have fallen since the outbreak was identified on August 17.

The fly in the ointment is that the drop in positive tests correlates with a fall in overall tests.

On Sunday, more than 23,000 tests were reported, but on Monday, health officials reported 16,000.

The new cases identified in Monday's update were all from Auckland.

The outbreak tally is 562, with 547 in Auckland and 15 in Wellington.

There are 37 cases in hospital, including five in stable in intensive care.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern hold out hope the nation can extinguish the Delta outbreak. Source Getty
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern hold out hope the nation can extinguish the Delta outbreak. Source Getty

The new case numbers are being discussed by NZ's cabinet as Jacinda Ardern's government mulls new restrictions.

The prime minister has already flagged the likely outcome.

Auckland, the centre of the outbreak, and Northland, which has had no cases but is linked to NZ's biggest city, is likely to stay at a tough level four lockdown for another fortnight.

The rest of the country, including Wellington and South Island, with no cases, will move to a slightly less restrictive level three lockdown.

Level three keeps limits on almost all social gatherings, but allows for more businesses to open, including cafes and restaurants to open for takeaway.

Ms Ardern has foreshadowed a tightening of social distancing rules at businesses, should there be further spread of the virus in workplaces.

Reuters, AAP

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