A 90-year-old Swiss citizen, the first one to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine died on Tuesday, five days after getting the jab. After fingers were pointed out at the vaccine maker, The Swissmedic regulatory authority and regional authorities in the central canton of Lucerne on Wednesday defended the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine saying the two events are unrelated.
The 90-year-old woman made headlines just a week ago for being the first to be shot with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine last week. AP's report said that she was vaccinated on Christmas Eve and had previously reacted negatively to the flu shot.
The spokesperson for the Swiss medic regulator told AFP that the death was a 'coincidence'.
"Investigations by the cantonal health authorities and by Swissmedic have shown that, based on the medical history and disease development, a connection between the death and the Covid-19 vaccination is highly unlikely," Swissmedic said in a statement.
The deceased had already been suffering from several diseases, the agency pointed out.
"Neither the medical history nor the acute course of disease suggest a direct causal link between the Covid-19 vaccine and the death," it said.
"Pre-existing diseases" had been listed as the natural cause of death on the death certificate, it pointed out.
Swissmedic's role in approving the vaccine was challenged as it gave a thumbs up as early as December 20. The authority said that no unknown side effects had occurred since vaccinations had begun in the country a week ago.
Millions of people have already received the vaccine across a number of countries, and no deaths have been connected to the jabs so far.
Pfizer and BioNTech said they were aware of the death, and said their "thoughts are with the bereaved family."
The two companies also stressed in a statement that "serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine, are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population of elderly and at-risk individuals who are currently being prioritised for vaccination."