Hong Kong says death of chronically ill man not directly linked to Covid-19 vaccine

The vaccination programme in Hong Kong currently only uses shots from Sinovac. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (XINHUA) - Medical experts said on Wednesday (March 3) that the death of a chronically ill man was not directly linked to the Covid-19 vaccine that he took two days before his passing in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following Covid-19 Immunisation held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the man's case.

Professor Ivan Hung, a co-convenor of the committee, told a media briefing on Wednesday evening that the panel unanimously agreed that the man's death was not directly linked to the vaccine but most likely caused by coronary heart disease.

The 63-year-old man, who suffered from diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and central obesity, died at about 6am on Sunday, a few hours after he was admitted to a hospital due to shortness of breath. He received the first dose of the vaccine last Friday.

The vaccination programme in Hong Kong currently uses shots from Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac, according to Associated Press.

Prof Hung said the committee will summarise the cause of the man's death and explain the incident in detail after receiving a comprehensive autopsy report.

At an earlier media briefing in the early hours of Wednesday, Mr Ronald Lam, controller of the Centre for Health Protection, said the Hong Kong government is very concerned about the death and extends deep condolences to the deceased and his family.

Infectious disease expert Leung Chi-chiu said on Wednesday that the death was unlikely to be caused by the vaccination and there have been no proven death cases related to Covid-19 vaccines around the world.

As getting the vaccine has more positive effects than risks, the ongoing vaccine roll-out should not be stopped, Mr Lam said.

"Hong Kong has a strict vaccine approval system and its responding mechanism for adverse events following vaccination is the same with the international practice," he added.

On Wednesday, the Centre for Health Protection reported 14 additional confirmed cases of Covid-19, taking its total tally to 11,046. All the new cases were local infections, of which eight had an unknown origin, according to the Centre for Health Protection.

The government on Wednesday announced that the social distancing measures currently in place will be maintained until March 17.

A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said the Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong remains volatile. A number of confirmed cases were found in certain districts over a short period of time, which showed that silent transmission in the community is still active.

Given the recent cluster in eateries, the government will require catering business premises to dedicate staff for clearing used utensils and cleaning and disinfecting used tables and partitions to reduce the relevant infection risk, the spokesman said.

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