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Source: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
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  • New Zealand has reported what authorities say is the country’s first recorded death associated with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • An independent vaccine safety board found the woman — whose age is unknown — had died from myocarditis
  • Notably, it said the woman had other medical issues at the time she received the vaccine, which may have contributed to her death
  • Authorities maintain that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine continues to greatly outweigh the risk of both COVID-19 infection and vaccine side effects
  • New Zealand reported 53 new cases of COVID-19 this morning, taking the total number of infections in the current outbreak to 562

New Zealand has reported what authorities say is the country’s first recorded death associated with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The news was revealed this morning by the health ministry, following a review by the COVID-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board (CV-ISMB) into the death of a woman who was administered the dose. The woman’s age was not made public.

The board determined that the woman’s death was due to myocarditis, a condition known to be a very rare side effect of the Pfizer vaccine. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that can limit the organ’s ability to pump blood and cause changes to heartbeat regularity.

“This is the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine,” the health ministry said in a statement.

The case has been referred to the coroner and the exact cause of death has not yet been identified.

Notably, the board said the woman had other medical issues at the time she received the vaccine, which may have influenced the outcome.

“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 added.

Still, CV-ISMB Chair John Tait said it was important to thoroughly investigate any adverse events related to vaccinations.

“We want to ensure that the outcomes from this investigation are widely available for others to learn from,” Dr Tait said.

“The findings will be published to increase the scientific knowledge about vaccine-induced myocarditis.”

So far the Pfizer-BioNTech, Janssen and AstraZeneca vaccines have been provisionally approved by New Zealand authorities. The Pfizer vaccine, however, is the only vaccine that has been approved for rollout to the public.

New Zealand reported 53 new cases of COVID-19 this morning, all in Auckland, which takes the total number of infections in the current outbreak to 562.

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