US, UK media silent on Pfizer vaccine after 23 Norwegian deaths
Major American and British media have apparently reached a consensus to downplay the death of at least 23 people in Norway who received the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US firm Pfizer and German BioNTech.
The Norwegian Medicines Agency said on Thursday that all 13 of the fatalities were above the age of 80, adding it is possible that common side effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, such as fever and nausea, may have contributed to severe reactions in frail, elderly people.
The agency’s medical director, Steinar Madsen, told national broadcaster NRK that in addition to the 13 deaths, nine cases of serious side effects and seven instances of less serious side effects have also been recorded.
“Doctors must now carefully consider who should be vaccinated. Those who are very frail and at the very end of life can be vaccinated after an individual assessment,” he added.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health also said, “For those with the most severe frailty, even relatively mild vaccine side effects can have serious consequences.”
“For those who have a very short remaining life span anyway, the benefit of the vaccine may be marginal or irrelevant.”
Earlier this week, the agency had warned that “for very frail patients and terminally ill patients, a careful balance of benefit versus disadvantage of vaccination is recommended.”
The death of 23 elderly people in Norway is a large number as only about 33,000 people have received COVID-19 shots in the small Northern European country.
However, it is surprising that mainstream English-language media did not report the incident immediately as if they had decided to downplay the deaths of the Norwegians.
With the current extremely critical situation of the pandemic, it is the fundamental interests of all humans to have more vaccines to battle COVID-19.
However, some American and British media are taking the lead in putting geopolitical labels on vaccines and meddling in political stances with the scientific attitude toward them in a bid to promote Pfizer.
Although all COVID-19 vaccines are necessary to go through more sample tests and longer clinical verification before being fully introduced to the market, time and the pandemic do not wait and the vaccines have been promoted with a much faster speed.
Emer Cooke, the new head of the European Medicines Agency, has said tracking the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, especially those relying on novel technologies such as messenger RNA, would be one of the biggest challenges once shots are rolled out widely.
Norway started COVID-19 vaccinations last month, focusing on those considered to be most at risk if they contract the virus, including the elderly.