KEY POINTS

  • The autopsy said the main cause of the woman's death was pneumonia
  • Doctors said she also suffered from coronary artery disease and stroke 
  • It is unclear whether the causes of death were linked to the vaccination

An investigation has been opened into the death of a 103-year-old woman, who was wrongly administered a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore.

The woman, a nursing home resident, was accidentally given an extra dose by a mobile vaccination unit on Dec. 13, reported The Strait Times.

The woman fell ill three days later, and was shifted to Changi General Hospital. She was diagnosed with pneumonia and low sodium levels, and subsequently suffered a stroke. The unidentified woman died on Jan. 10, 27 days after getting the fourth jab. 

"Her death was reported to the coroner, who ordered an autopsy to be conducted. The autopsy found that the main cause of death was pneumonia, with other contributing factors being cerebral infarction (or stroke) and coronary artery disease, which are natural disease processes common in seniors. The coroner has not determined whether these causes of death were linked to the vaccination," the Singapore Ministry Of Health (MOH) told Channel News Asia.

A primary inquiry revealed "poor communication between the nursing home and the medical service provider" resulted in the woman being given the extra shot. The MOH also found there were possible irregularities in the vaccination procedure.

“This is the first case of mistaken identity leading to erroneous vaccination by a mobile vaccination team in over 152,000 vaccinations to date," the MOH added. 

According to the ECON Healthcare Group, which runs the care home, the mistake was identified five minutes after the woman was administered the shot. The care home workers and others attended to her immediately, but there was no adverse reaction at that time.

The MOH said they wanted to announce the incident in December itself, but the woman's family requested otherwise.

"However, the family of the resident had requested to withhold details which could have led to the identification of the resident. We have since consulted the family further and are releasing the information to provide clarity on the incident," it said. 

Last year, an Italian woman accidentally received six doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine all at once. However, the 23-year-old woman did not experience any serious side effects. According to CBS News , the incident happened on May 9 after a nurse administering the vaccine mistakenly injected the woman with an entire vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

Philippine health officials hope the success of the polio vaccination effort will be replicated in its rollout of Covid-19 jabs Representation. Photo: AFP / Ted ALJIBE