The Norwegian drug agency on Monday warned medical authorities in the country not to administer the Covid-19 vaccine to terminally-ill patients because a small number of elderly people had died shortly after receiving the shot in recent days.
Norway is unrolling the vaccine developed by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc., and authorities have reported 23 cases of elderly recipients suffering from serious medical conditions dying days after being inoculated.
The Norwegian Medicines Agency, which regulates drugs, examined 13 of the cases, with an average age of 86, and said that six of the people had been terminally ill from various conditions before their vaccination. In addition, 11 suffered from dementia and serious co-morbidities such as heart disease.
“We have now repeated our existing advice not to give the vaccine to terminally ill patients,” a spokeswoman for the agency said. The spokeswoman added that there was no evidence the vaccine was in any way unsafe and authorities didn’t have any concerns about its use.
The agency said Norway’s vaccination campaign, like many others around the world, had been giving priority to elderly people in nursing homes, some of whom have serious underlying diseases, and it was therefore expected that deaths might occur close to the time of vaccination.