KEY POINTS

  • Two people died after receiving coronavirus vaccine in Hong Kong and Japan
  • Health officials have yet to find a connection between the vaccine and the deaths
  • Both patients were above the age of 60

Two people died after receiving coronavirus vaccines in Hong Kong and Japan, prompting health authorities to launch investigations. 

Hong Kong’s Department of Health on Tuesday night revealed that a chronically ill 63-year-old man died two days after receiving a shot of China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine at Kwun Chung Sports Centre in Jordan.

The victim, whose identity was not released, was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Feb. 28 after experiencing breathing difficulties. He was admitted and later suffered cardiac arrest. Doctors failed to resuscitate the man after multiple attempts. 

Clinicians at the hospital were informed that the patient received a shot of the Sinovac vaccine. However, doctors said the victim did not show any signs of allergic reactions. Staff members at the hospital also said the patient was likely suffering from chronic bronchitis. 

Hong Kong health officials are now reviewing the man's health records. They have warned the public that authorities have yet to find a connection between the Sinovac vaccine and the man’s death. 

“At the moment, the causal relationship with the vaccination cannot be ascertained,” the health department said in a statement. 

In Japan, a woman in her 60s died Monday after receiving a shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine three days earlier. 

Doctors believe she developed a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which refers to bleeding in the area between the brain and the tissue that covers the brain. A subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is often the result of head trauma, can lead to coma, paralysis, and death. 

The Japanese Health Ministry said the relationship between the coronavirus vaccine and the woman's death is still not determined. It's the first case of someone dying in Japan after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The reports from Hong Kong and Japan come after a group of Chinese vaccine experts called for caution when 16 elderly people in Switzerland died after receiving Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. 

A report by the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products said it obtained 364 reports of adverse drug reactions to coronavirus vaccines. At least 199 of the incidents involved Pfizer’s, while 154 were linked to Moderna’s. 

But Swiss health officials said they have yet to find evidence suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines caused the deaths. 

The rollout of vaccines around the world, slowing infection rates and the prospect of more US stimulus continues to support markets, though inflation worries persist The rollout of vaccines around the world, slowing infection rates and the prospect of more US stimulus continues to support markets, though inflation worries persist Photo: AFP / Aizar RALDES