Norwegian officials were the first to report people dying after being inoculated, saying in mid-January that 33 people age 75 and older had died a short time after receiving the Covid vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. After a review, a committee of the World Health Organization said that the fatalities were “in line with the expected, all-cause mortality rates and causes of death in the sub-population of frail, elderly individuals.” The committee concluded that the risk-benefit balance of the vaccine “remains favorable in the elderly.”
The U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency reported that, up through Feb. 14, there were 197 deaths shortly after injections with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 205 from the AstraZeneca Plc shot and four where the brand was unspecified. The deaths were mainly in elderly people or those with underlying illness, and there’s no suggestion the vaccines played a role, it said.
In Germany, the Paul Ehrlich Institute said after an investigation that the deaths of seven elderly people shortly after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were probably due to the patients’ underlying diseases.
And in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Feb. 7, there were 1,170 reported deaths among people who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or another from Moderna Inc., a rate of 0.003%, and no evidence suggests a link.