No evidence of link between deaths and COVID vaccine, professor says
Evidence does not suggest two NSW deaths are linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, a leading health officer says.
A 55-year-old man from Tamworth and a Sydney man in his 70s both died this month after receiving the vaccine.
But the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) John Skerritt played down links between the deaths and the jab, and issued a “strong caution” against “reaching conclusions”.
“The current evidence doesn’t suggest a likely association,” he said.
Professor Skerritt said while risks shouldn’t be “swept under the carpet”, sensationalist reporting could increase vaccine scepticism.
“We have a shared responsibility whether we’re government whether we’re civil servants, whether we’re the community, or whether we’re a media for providing accurate, unbiased information,” he said.
Professor Skerritt said about 50 Australians a day reported to hospital with serious blood clots, about a third of which proved fatal.
He said blood clotting rates from long-distance travel and the contraceptive pill were far higher, though had lower fatality rates.
“A lot of people are getting clots,” he said.
“Our job is of course to unravel whether or not there’s any association with vaccination. So far, globally there is not an overall association other than … a very rare and specific syndrome,” he said.
The TGA has not yet confirmed which vaccine the men took, but Professor Skerritt believed it was AstraZeneca.
MAN WHO DIED AFTER VACCINE IDENTIFIED
A man who died little more than a week after getting the COVID-19 vaccine has been remembered as a “much loved” and “healthy fella”.
Darren ‘Misso’ Missen, 55, died eight days after he received the jab, leaving family and friends absolutely devastated.
The “fit and healthy” man from Tamworth died in hospital last week about a week after rolling up his sleeve.
There has been no confirmed link between the vaccine and his death but health authorities are racing to determine how he died.
A friend named Mark took to Facebook to confirm Mr Missen’s death.
“I lost a good mate during the week,” he said.
“He was a fit, healthy fella (who) loved a schooner and a punt as we do.
“Darren had the corona(virus) jab at the end of last week and was a little bit off colour at work early this week.”
Mr Missen died in hospital on April 21, eight days after getting jabbed. He will be farewelled at a funeral service on May 4 in Tamworth.
It is believed he suffered a massive blood clot in his heart or lungs. He had reportedly collapsed while running errands.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said it was aware of the case but no link between his death and the vaccine had yet been established.
It is unclear what brand of vaccine he was given.
“The reporting of an adverse event to TGA post vaccination does not mean the event was caused by the vaccination,” the TGA said in a statement.
“All reports to the TGA of death following vaccination are reviewed to assess the likelihood that the vaccine contributed to the event or medical condition that led to a fatal outcome.”
A review will be undertaken by experts who will look into the patient’s medical history including risk factors and medications.
The family member who spoke to the local paper said they did not blame the vaccine but were shocked.
Meanwhile, a 71-year-old Sydney man has also died after getting the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
According to 7 News, the man had several underlying health conditions and there’s no evidence his death is linked to the vaccine at this stage.
Health officials will now examine the circumstances around his death before passing on findings to the TGA.
NSW Health released a statement which said it does not discuss or speculate on individual cases.
“An adverse event following immunisation is any untoward medical event that occurs after a vaccination has been given, which may be related to the vaccine,” the department said.
“A conclusion regarding a causal relationship with the vaccine is not necessary to suspect or report an adverse event.”
The state’s health department said it is notified when an adverse reaction occurs which it will investigate before passing on findings.
“NSW Health investigates these events and refers its expert panel findings to the TGA, which is responsible for assessing causality,” the statement said.
“Many conditions can arise during normal life, whether or not a vaccine is administered, but it remains important to report any new serious or unexpected events so that safety can be appropriately monitored.”
Paul Griffin, infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at the University of Queensland, said it was likely the men’s deaths were coincidental.
“Right now we need to respect the patients and the family’s confidentiality … most of the time these sort of events will simply be a coincidence,” he told Sunrise.
“We have vaccinated a large amount of the population and these events happen in a population all the time.”
However he said it was essential these incidents were investigated thoroughly.
“But on the whole, the vast majority will be shown to be a coincidence so we need to be really careful with jumping to conclusions,” Dr Griffin said.