133 Molesworth Street
PO Box 5013
New Zealand T
+64 4 496 2000 W
24 June 2021
By email: [FYI request #15692 email]
Response to your request for official information
Thank you for your request under the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act) on 6 June 2021 for:
“how many deaths there have been in New Zealand up to 28 days following the
administration of the Pfizer 'Comirnaty'? (Whether a link has been determined or not).
I use the period of 28 days due to any death being classified as a 'covid death' being one
within 28 days of a 'positive test' and would expect vaccine deaths to follow a similar rule
(Albeit having no long term studies or evidence of said vaccine and how that could affect
people later in life)”
The Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) at the University of Otago is contracted by
the Ministry of Health to receive and review all adverse reactions linked to medications, including
deaths. The Ministry is only aware of deaths if they are reported to CARM. While both health
practitioners and members of the public can report a suspected adverse event to CARM it is
important to note that reporting is voluntary. The form to report adverse reactions is publicly
available at: https://nzphvc.otago.ac.nz/reporting.
A small number of deaths have been reported to CARM where a person subsequently died after
receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. These cases have been reviewed by CARM and no
safety concerns relating to the vaccination have been identified. Weekly reports summarising the
number and type of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) reported with COVID-19
vaccines (including deaths) can be found on the Medsafe website here: www.medsafe.govt.nz/COVID-19/vaccine-report-overview.asp.
Of the reports received by Medsafe, all deaths occurred within a week of the most recent dose. It
is important to note that as more than 30,000 people die in New Zealand every year, it is
expected that some deaths will be reported after vaccination or use of any medicine. Similar
reports are recorded during the influenza vaccination programme.
As the Comirnaty vaccine is approved for use in New Zealand for people 12 years and older, the
Ministry expects to continue to see coincidental events, including deaths, following vaccination.
Every event reported to CARM will be reviewed and any identified safety concerns will be publicly
communicated as soon as possible, and appropriate action taken.
Under section 28(3) of the Act you have the right to ask the Ombudsman to review any decisions
made under this request. The Ombudsman may be contacted by email at: [email address]
or by calling 0800 802 602.
Please note that this response, with your personal details removed, may be published on the
Ministry website at: www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/information-releases/responses-official-
Chris James Group Manager
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