Australia

Health authorities warn against drawing conclusions over reports of NSW death following COVID-19 vaccine

Health authorities are urging Australians not to jump to conclusions amid reports of a man dying eight days after receiving a coronavirus vaccination.

Chief Nursing Officer Alison McMillan has moved to assure the public robust processes are in place to investigate adverse events following jabs.

“More information will be gathered, if necessary an expert group will be brought together to look at these deaths, and in time we may make a determination,” she told the ABC on Thursday.

“But it’s really important not to jump to conclusions here.

“We have systems to look at these deaths, unfortunate as they are.”

A 55-year-old man from Tamworth NSW reportedly died on 21 April after getting his first vaccine eight days earlier.

A relative of the man told the Northern Daily Leader he died of blood clots in his lungs.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration would not comment on the individual case, citing patient confidentiality.

“The reporting of an adverse event to TGA post vaccination does not mean the event was caused by the vaccination,” the agency said in a statement.

“All reports to the TGA of death following vaccination are reviewed to assess the likelihood that the vaccine contributed to the event or medical condition that lead to a fatal outcome.”

Reviews look at medical history, risk factors, medications being taken at the time of vaccination and any other relevant factors.

Expert advice is sometimes sought from specialist investigation groups.

The TGA has confirmed six cases of rare blood clots that are likely linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Meanwhile, Labor is urging the federal government to boost the quarantine system to stop Australians being stranded in risky situations overseas.

The government has paused flights from India until 15 May as the Asian nation grapples with a widespread coronavirus outbreak.

Flights were suspended because returned travellers from India were coming down with the virus in hotel quarantine, putting pressure on the system.

Victoria is hoping to set up a separate hotel quarantine system for international students and foreign workers, who would not be included in the state’s weekly arrival limits.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the state had not yet asked him for funding support, but he expected the quarantine system to be central to discussions into the future.

“The virus is still with us for some time to come,” he told ABC radio.

“When it comes to the quarantine numbers that are coming into the country, NSW has done by far the bulk of the heavy lifting.”

Australia will provide millions of pieces of medical and personal protective equipment to India, as well as oxygen concentrators.

More than 200,000 people have died of the infection so far in India, as the country clocks about 300,000 new infections each day.

Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said the federal government has had months to boost the number of spaces in hotel quarantine and improve the system.

“We still do not have a system of safe national quarantine led by the Commonwealth,” she told the ABC.

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