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Dr Rob Grenfell said the deaths in Norway could be seen as “disturbing”, but the deaths weren’t necessarily surprising, as Australia is just weeks away from launching the first of 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Dr. Grenfell said that anyone over the age of 50 should “seriously consider” facing a “20 percent chance of hospitalization” if they contract the coronavirus.

An electron microscope image shows the spherical particles of the new coronavirus, colored blue, from the first American case of COVID-19.
An electron microscope image shows the spherical particles of the new coronavirus, colored blue, from the first American case of COVID-19. (AP)

Speaking in Todaysaid that anyone in nursing homes faces a “greater than 80 percent or even 90 percent” chance of being hospitalized if they contract the virus.

Dr. Grenfell said the deaths in Norway were not unexpected.

Norway’s medical regulator says reports suggest that common adverse reactions to mRNA vaccines, such as fever and nausea, may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients.

Dr. Grenfell said vaccine deaths can occur in phase four drug trial studies, which is essentially where coronavirus vaccines are found.

Scientists will look for adverse reactions, including deaths, as the trial moves from the study sample groups to the general population.

It’s important to put Norway’s deaths in perspective, he said.

“Anyone in a care facility for the elderly is usually very fragile and also has multiple diseases.”

He said it is now important for health authorities to establish how those deaths occurred and how the vaccine could have, if any, complicated pre-existing conditions.

“What needs to be clarified in these cases is whether these deaths are related, caused by or have nothing to do with the vaccine that was administered to them.”

Dr Grenfell said the Therapeutics Administration will “classify” this information and “may issue warnings to physicians” in Australia when the vaccine is released.

The TGA says there is no concrete link between these deaths and the vaccine at this stage, but is working with Norway and Pfizer to find out more.

When asked if he would be happy to get the Pfizer vaccine, Dr. Grenfell replied, “Without a doubt.”

He said he had been “closely following” the side effect profiles of all the coronavirus vaccines that are now being rolled out globally.

Australia has an agreement to buy 10 million doses of the jab from Pfizer.

Elderly care residents and older Australians will be vaccinated in the first phase of deployment.

A vial of Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine ready for administration at Guy's Hospital at the start of the largest immunization program in UK history.
A vial of Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine ready for administration at Guy’s Hospital at the start of the largest immunization program in UK history. (Getty)
A researcher at a Jenner Institute laboratory in Oxford, England, works on the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
A researcher at a Jenner Institute laboratory in Oxford, England, works on the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. (AP)

The Pfizer vaccine is expected to be approved in Australia by the end of the month, with a possible launch in February.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia was “proceeding with great caution” before vaccinating the population.

The TGA says it is working with European regulators to determine whether specific warnings about the risks of vaccination in the very frail or terminally ill should be applied to the Pfizer vaccine.


www.9news.com.au

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