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Family, ministry say no link to vaccine as man dies hours after inoculation

75-year-old with cancer and history of heart attacks suffers cardiac arrest in incident to be further probed by authorities

People receives a Covid-19 vaccine, at Clalit Covid-19 vaccination center in Jerusalem, on December 28, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
People receives a Covid-19 vaccine, at Clalit Covid-19 vaccination center in Jerusalem, on December 28, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

While stressing it did not see a link to the vaccination, the Health Ministry said Monday it was investigating the death of a 75-year-old man with serious health problems who died at home hours after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

The man received the injection of the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning in his northern hometown of Beit She’an. After waiting an obligatory half an hour at the medical clinic, he was released home, saying he felt fine. Some time after getting home, he lost consciousness and was later pronounced dead as a result of heart failure.

The Health Ministry said a preliminary investigation indicated the death did not appear to be connected to the shot. The man suffered from heart disease and cancer, and had suffered a number of previous heart attacks, the ministry said.

The man’s family also asked not to link his death to the vaccine, Hebrew media reported.

Ministry director general Chezy Levy nonetheless announced the formation of a committee of inquiry to investigate the incident.

In a separate incident Monday evening, a man was taken to the Terem emergency medical clinic in Jerusalem after suffering a severe allergic reaction around an hour after receiving a dose of the virus.

The man, 46, does not suffer from preexisting conditions but has an allergy to penicillin, Terem said in a statement. The clinic said he has suffered anaphylactic shock as a result of his allergy but that he was given medication and his condition had “stabilized.”

The Pfizer vaccine is not made with the coronavirus itself, meaning that there is no chance anyone could catch it from the shots. Instead, the vaccine contains a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spiked protein on the surface of the virus.

No major safety issues were uncovered in trials of the shot and only common vaccine-related side effects like fever, fatigue and injection site pain were found.

A small among of people, however, did suffer severe allergic reactions in the trials. Last week the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they had seen six cases of severe allergic reaction out of more than a quarter-million shots of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine given, including in one person with a history of vaccination reactions.

Israel’s Health Ministry on Monday announced a new daily record in coronavirus vaccination numbers, with 98,916 shots administered the previous day, a week after Israel began its inoculation campaign. The total number of inoculations in the country stood at 379,000.

Israel currently ranks first globally in vaccinations per capita, slightly ahead of Bahrain and quite significantly ahead of other world countries, according to the University of Oxford-run Our World in Data.

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