Coronavirus: What Do We Know About the Five Cases of Vaccine Deaths?

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What do we know about the coronavirus vaccine deaths

DEATH: No link has so far been established between the deaths of these people and their coronavirus vaccination

  • Five people in France and more than 70 in Europe have died among all those who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
  • While the reliability of vaccines is sometimes questioned by some populations, these cases are viewed with great caution by health authorities who to date have made no link between the deaths and the vaccine.
  • Questioned, the doctor Michaël Rochoy wants to be optimistic but warns that the vaccination campaign will be long and probably interspersed with other cases of this kind.

For the first time on Tuesday, French health authorities announced the deaths of people who had been vaccinated against coronavirus Covid-19. However, at this time, nothing says that these people, all elderly and residents in nursing homes, died because of the vaccine. Should we be worried? 

What do we know about these five deaths in France?

The five deaths took place in the regions of Tours, Montpellier and Nancy, according to information communicated by the health authorities “All occurred in elderly patients, in nursing homes”, added the National Medicines Safety Agency and health products (ANSM), interviewed by AFP. “In all cases, they are elderly or very old with comorbidities”, insisted the ANSM. This was confirmed by the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, during a visit to a vaccination centre in Nancy. “These are people who may have died in the days following the vaccination without showing signs of an allergic reaction” after the injection, he said.

In a tense context, the health authorities want to be transparent: they announced that an update would be made each week on the adverse effects (including deaths) observed after vaccinations, without however being able to establish a link between the two as it requires investigating each case. Tuesday, while 480,000 people had been vaccinated in France, 139 cases of adverse effects had already been identified.

What happens when a death is recorded after vaccination?

We are currently in a normal process of post-market surveillance of a new drug. “We have talked a lot about phase 3 of vaccines, but we must understand that we are in phase 4, describes Michaël Rochoy. This is a normal pharmacovigilance for adverse effects, including death. We are investigating whether or not this is related to the drug, in this case, the vaccine. “

Death cases are reported to the pharmacovigilance centre in each region, which studies the issue and enters each case into a national database. An analysis is done chronologically (if the person dies a year after vaccination, it is less likely that this is related) and semiologically (if the person died from a fall or after an allergic shock for example ).

The cases are then reported to the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products and possibly to the European Medicines Agency, the agency which authorizes or not vaccines (or any other medicine) throughout the European Union. . “We are fortunate to have regionalized and efficient pharmacovigilance in France, this is not the case everywhere”, specifies, confident, Michaël Rochoy.

Should we be worried?

In view of the statistics, we are very far from the alert threshold. Each year in France around 600,000 people die, on average, or just under 1% of the population. Nearly 170,000 of these deaths, about a quarter of the total, occur in nursing homes or long-term care units. “Will we find vaccinated among the deaths in nursing homes last month and months to come: yes very likely”, says Michaël Rochoy, doctor member of the collective “On the side of science”.

It must be said that with approximately 1 death per 100,000 vaccinated and vaccinated, we are far below 1% of deaths on average in France each year. Even though we have vaccinated mainly elderly people, whose mortality rate is logically much higher than in the rest of the population, vaccine or not.

“It is difficult to hang these deaths on the vaccine. Death is never linked to a single cause, these people could also have other points in common than the vaccine. The most likely here is that the vaccine has nothing to do with it, ”thinks Michaël Rochoy, who is therefore not worried about the situation, even if of course each death is dramatic in itself.

What is the situation in the rest of Europe?

France is not the only one concerned. In the European Union and Norway, still Tuesday, there were 71 people dead among those vaccinated. According to France Inter, in Germany there are seven cases, in people aged 79 to 93 years. Across the Rhine, more than 1.2 million people have already received at least one dose of vaccine. Norway has 33 cases out of 50,000 vaccinated and vaccinated. There, we vaccinated almost exclusively in the equivalent of our nursing homes (40,000) where almost all of the residents received the first dose of the drug from Pfizer-BioNTech.

Investigations on 13 of the 33 Norwegian cases have already shown that each time they were very old people, frail and suffering from one or more serious diseases. Therefore, with a very high risk of mortality, vaccine or not. In total, France Inter recalls that more than 50 million doses of vaccines (not just Pfizer-BioNTech) have been administered throughout the world, without noticeable effect on post-injection mortality. A scale that is already very large compared to clinical trials carried out on tens of thousands of people at the end of 2020.

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