Experts explain adverse cases

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)   A committee of experts today said it preliminarily considered that the suspected serious adverse event cases following COVID-19 vaccination recently reported have no direct causal association with the vaccination.   The Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following COVID-19 Immunisation held a meeting today to discuss three suspected serious adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination, including a death case and two cases admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of public hospitals.   Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following COVID-19 Immunisation Co-convenor Prof Ivan Hung said: “If it is determined that they are not associated with the vaccination, then they will not be counted as deaths resulting from the vaccine as such. Of course, we will have to wait for the detailed final report to confirm that.”   Prof Hung explained that experts have thoroughly examined the data of those with chronic illnesses and the elderly.   “In terms of the expert advisory panel as well as the scientific panel, we have had to scrutinise all the data, not only for the people with chronic illnesses but also for the elderly.   “From that data and also from our experience that in the third wave a lot of elderly people had succumbed to COVID-19, based on these data the scientific committee has come to a conclusion that the vaccine should be prioritised to elderly people and of course to patients with chronic illnesses. And that is the rationale behind.”   For the three cases assessed in today's meeting, the first case was about a 55-year-old woman who had a history of hypertension and hyperlipidaemia. She suffered from acute stroke on March 5.   She had cardiac arrest and eventually passed away on March 6. She had received a dose of CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine on March 2.   Based on the preliminary autopsy findings of aortic dissection, the committee considered that the deceased's outcome was not directly associated with COVID-19 vaccination. The full autopsy report will be required for the committee to conclude the causality assessment.   The second case was about an 80-year-old man with a history of diabetes, carotid atherosclerosis, hypertension and stroke.   The patient complained of chest pain on March 6 and did not respond well to treatment and was transferred to the ICU for further management on the same night. The provisional diagnosis was acute coronary syndrome.   He received a dose of CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine on March 1. The committee considered that the patient's outcome was not directly associated with COVID-19 vaccination and it will require more clinical information during treatment to conclude the causality assessment.   The third case was about a 72-year-old woman with a history of diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, hypertension and hypothyroidism, and received a dose of CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine on March 6.   She felt malaise after vaccination and skipped two doses of regular insulin. Her general condition decreased on March 7.   She was suspected of having severe diabetic ketoacidosis and transferred to the ICU for further treatment. The provisional diagnosis was diabetes, complicated with hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state.   The committee considered that the patient’s situation was due to her underlying diseases and skipping of her regular insulin.   Additionally, the Department of Health (DH) announced that as of 4pm today, it received a death case reported by the Hospital Authority regarding a suspected serious adverse event following COVID-19 vaccination.   The case involves a 71-year-old-man with unknown past medical history who was found collapsed at home last night. He was admitted to United Christian Hospital's accident and emergency department for treatment but did not respond to resuscitation and passed away this morning.   He had received COVID-19 vaccination at a private clinic on March 3. The case has been referred to the coroner. The DH has reported the case to the expert committee at today's meeting and will obtain further information for the committee's assessment.
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