SINGAPORE - The death of a 57-year-old man the day after he took his first Covid-19 jab on March 5 was due to a heart attack, and was not linked to the vaccine, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday (May 24).
In response to queries from The Straits Times, MOH said it was alerted on March 8 by the National University Hospital (NUH) to the death of the Singaporean patient, who had been treated at the hospital's emergency medicine department on the evening of March 6.
He had received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on March 5.
"Based on the assessment by an independent clinical panel, there is no indication that the death was due to Covid-19 vaccination," said MOH.
The ministry added that the certified cause of death was a heart attack, and the man had a history of hypertension and diabetes.
MOH said the man was assessed by trained healthcare personnel to be suitable for vaccination, and he was observed on-site for about 30 minutes after getting the shot.
"We offer our sincere condolences to the family during this difficult time," the ministry added.
MOH said that to date, there has not been any deaths in Singapore assessed to be caused by the Covid-19 vaccine.
Online news outlet Today reported on Sunday that the man, named Yak Hock Hwa, a private-hire car driver, collapsed on March 6 evening.
NUH told the news outlet that the man's condition deteriorated rapidly and he did not respond to resuscitation efforts.
The man's family told Today that he had no history of heart problems, and they are hoping the authorities can provide further explanations on how they assessed that his death was not caused by the vaccine.
They are also hoping to receive compensation from the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme - a one-time goodwill payout for those who suffer from serious side effects linked to the vaccine.
The news outlet also reported that the family declined an autopsy into his death because the NUH doctors were confident that the man died of a heart attack.
The man's daughter had also asked that an autopsy not be done.