NZ records probable Pfizer vaccine death

·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 that a woman in her 50s had died due to myocarditis around a month ago.

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.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the death should not deter Kiwis from being vaccinated.

"The risk of myocarditis after the vaccine is a lot lower than risk of myocarditis after being infected with COVID-19," he said.

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

The reporting of the death comes as New Zealand reaches new highs in vaccination rates.

New Zealand's plan was to vaccinate around 350,000 Kiwis a week at this phase of the rollout, but last week a surge pushed demand out beyond 500,000.

Around 14 per cent of New Zealand's population has been vaccinated in the 12 days since the identification of a new outbreak.

That brought conjecture as to whether NZ had enough demand to meet supply.

Ms Ardern said a stocktake had shown there were 840,000 doses on hand, there was little chance of running out, but all the same, she was seeking more vaccine.

"We are working on a strategy to meet that demand with more vaccine in the country," she said.

"If we are unable to do this, then the worst case scenario is that we pull back to our planned volumes."

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