Sahpra finds no link between reported deaths and the Covid-19 vaccine

The SA Health Products Regulatory Authority said none of the 86 deaths reported after vaccination could be linked to immunisation. Stock photo.
The SA Health Products Regulatory Authority said none of the 86 deaths reported after vaccination could be linked to immunisation. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF

The SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) has found no link between reported deaths and the Covid-19 vaccine.

The regulator and the National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee (Nisec) said on Monday 40 reports of deaths after receiving the vaccine have been investigated and 46 are still under investigation.

Prof Hannelie Meyer, chairperson of Nisec, said 13 of the deaths are related to Covid-19 with a single case of breakthrough infection.

“These people who died because of Covid-19, they had already incubated Covid-19 at the time of vaccination or they contracted Covid-19 shortly after being vaccinated before they could mount an adequate immune response,” she said.

Meyer said some deaths happened “coincidentally” after being jabbed and were not related to the Covid-19 vaccine. 

The regulator said all medicines, including vaccines, can cause side effects. However, it says the risks of the Covid-19 vaccines outweigh any adverse effects, as they prevent severe forms of disease, hospitalisation and death.

It says any adverse event after immunisation is an “untoward medical event which follows immunisation and does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the administration of the vaccine”.

It said most adverse effects after vaccination are mild and usually resolve within the first 2-3 days after getting the jab. For example: mild headache, pain and redness at the injection site, slight fever, and so on

Not all suspected adverse events, whether minor or serious, are caused by the vaccine. It is possible that the timing of the suspected adverse event may be coincidental to the vaccination,” said the regulator.

Adverse events (AEFIs) are grouped into five categories which include immunisation anxiety-related reactions and coincidental events.

Sahpra called on people who have experienced AEFIs to report them on the Covid-19 safety hotline, call their doctor or download the med safety app. 

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