In this March 19, 2022 photo, a man receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at a community vaccination center at the Kowloon Mosque And Islamic Centre in Hong Kong. (KIN CHEUNG / AP)
HONG KONG – An expert committee formed by the Hong Kong government to assess post-inoculation clinical events has stressed that it has found no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination increases the risk of death for the recipients.
There is no unusual pattern identified so far, the Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following COVID-19 Immunization said on Wednesday, adding that it will continue to closely monitor the situation and collect data for assessment.
The committee has so far assessed 120 death cases and concluded that 115 death cases had no causal relationship with vaccination, according to a government news release.
It preliminarily considered that three cases were not associated with vaccination while the causal relationship of one case with vaccination could not be established. One case is pending further information for assessment.
About 19.98 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in the city and around 6.9 million people had received at least one vaccine dose
The committee – set up to provide independent assessment of the potential causal link between Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFIs) and COVID-19 vaccination in Hong Kong – convened a meeting on Wednesday to assess serious adverse events relating to COVID-19 vaccination.
As of Nov 30, total 1,055,730 cases tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus by nucleic acid tests and 1,072,652 through rapid antigen tests in Hong Kong, the government statement said, adding that 10,762 people died of the infection.
About 19.98 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in the city and around 6.9 million people had received at least one vaccine dose.
“In the same period, the Department of Health received 8,050 reports of adverse events (0.04 percent of total vaccine doses administered), including 120 death cases with vaccination within 14 days before they passed away (0.0006 percent of total vaccine doses administered),” reads the statement.
Citing local mortality data, the government said among people aged 30 or above, there were 3,856 deaths (i.e. 70.5 per 100 000 population) and 6,546 deaths (i.e. 119.6 per 100 000 population) due to ischaemic heart diseases and heart disease respectively in 2020.
From Oct 31 to Nov 27 of this year, the overall ratio of death cases was 49.2 cases for every 100,000 people, whereas the average ratio of death cases for the same period in 2018 to 2020 was 45.2 cases for every 100,000 people, according to the Hospital Authority.
“Based on the above figures, there is no evidence that vaccination increases the risk of death for recipients,” the statement adds.
The Department of Health has put in place a pharmacovigilance system for COVID-19 immunization and is partnering with the University of Hong Kong to conduct an active surveillance program for adverse events of special interest. The main purpose behind this is to detect potential signals of possible side effects of the vaccines, the government added.
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