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Health experts look into man’s death after BioNTech jab

20 March 2021

By The SUN 

It's the first serious clinical event linked to the BioNTech vaccine

Health experts are investigating the death on Friday, Mar 19, of a 66-year-old man with chronic illnesses who had a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine three days earlier.

It was the first fatality linked to the German-made vaccine, but the cause was not immediately known.

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A statement issued by the Department of Health said the man was found collapsed in a car in the morning, and was admitted to Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital where attempts to revive him failed.

The man was said to have a history of diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia (or high levels of fats in the blood).

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The DH statement said the deceased had the BioNTech jab at a vaccination centre in Sheung Shui on Mar 16, and did not complain of feeling unwell during the 15-minute observation period afterwards.

In line with standard procedure, the DH immediately notified the Hospital Authority so it could conduct an investigation and assessment. The case will then be forwarded to a panel of experts tasked with assessing clinical events following Covid-19 immunisation, which will determine if  there is a connection between the man’s death and his vaccination.


The experts panel had previously assessed seven cases of people who died after getting the China-made Sinovac vaccine, and determined that there was no direct link to the inoculations.

However, the incidents have led to mounting public concern over the safety of the Sinovac jab.

Information materials given to those who opt for the BioNTech jab

Shortly after the adverse reports, the take-up rate for the Sinovac vaccine fell to just over 60%, before gradually going back up to about 80%. For the German-made BioNTech vaccine, the turn-up rate has been well over 90%.

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The government responded to the decline in interest in the vaccines by extending the priority list for those who could get inoculated to residents aged 30 years old and above, and all foreign domestic workers.


Previously, those who were given first dips at the vaccine were people aged 60 and above, along with medical and health care personnel; then followed by workers in high-risk jobs such as teachers, market vendors, drivers of public transport, and restaurant and construction workers.


Still, more than 20,000 people have been receiving the jabs on a daily basis since. On Thursday, 11,800 people received the Sinovac vaccine and about 10,800 went for the BioNTech one.

Around 276,600 people have now been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Hong Kong, with about 201,500 receiving their first dose of the Sinovac jab, and about 75,100 taking the  Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. 

The latest incident could very well take some of the shine off the BioNTech jab.


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