Norwegian doctors have been told to be cautious while inoculating the elderly with Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine as 23 patients died shortly after receiving the first jab, BMJ Journal reported.

“It may be a coincidence, but we aren’t sure. There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine,” Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told the BMJ.

NOMA has investigated 13 of the deaths so far. They concluded that the reason behind the death was the common adverse reactions of mRNA vaccines, such as fever, nausea, and diarrhea. They can lead to fatal outcomes for old people.

“There is a possibility that these common adverse reactions, that are not dangerous in fitter, younger patients and are not unusual with vaccines, may aggravate underlying disease in the elderly,” Madsen said.

He noted, “We are not alarmed or worried about this, because these are very rare occurrences and they occurred in very frail patients with very serious disease. We are now asking for doctors to continue with the vaccination, but to carry out an extra evaluation of very sick people whose underlying condition might be aggravated by it.”

Meanwhile, Norweigian authorities have administered 20 000 doses of the vaccine over the past few weeks. Around 400 deaths normally occur among care home residents every week.

Meanwhile, the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Germany is also investigating 10 deaths shortly after getting the Covid-19 vaccine shot.

Commenting on the recent deaths, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) maintained that details of all suspected reactions reported in association with approved Covid-19 vaccines would be published along with its assessment of the data on a regular basis in the future.

Pfizer also released a statement on the matter and said, “Pfizer and BioNTech are aware of reported deaths following the administration of BNT162b2. We are working with NOMA to gather all the relevant information.”

It further said: “Norwegian authorities have prioritized the immunization of residents in nursing homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some of whom are terminally ill. NOMA confirms the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations.”

All reported deaths will be thoroughly evaluated by NOMA to determine if these incidents are related to the vaccine. The Norwegian government will also consider adjusting their vaccination instructions to take the patients’ health into more consideration. Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved families,” Pfizer added.