HONG KONG, China — Hong Kong’s public health authorities are investigating the death of a man with chronic diseases two days after he received the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Department of Health of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, at a press briefing in the small hours of Wednesday, said it has not been clear so far that if the death is related to the vaccination and an expert committee will conduct the causality assessment to ascertain the cause of the death.
The 63-year-old man with chronic and respiratory diseases died at about 6:00 a.m. on Sunday at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He went to the hospital due to shortness of breath earlier on the same day.
The government is very concerned about the incident and extends deep condolences to the deceased and his family, Ronald Lam, controller of the Center for Health Protection, said at the briefing.
The man was given the first jab of the vaccine on Friday.
Infectious disease expert Leung Chi-chiu said the death was unlikely to be caused by the vaccination and there have been no proved death cases related to COVID-19 vaccines around the world. He urged the authorities to find out the cause of the death and inform the public as soon as possible.
As getting the vaccine has more effects than risks, the ongoing vaccine rollout should not be stopped, 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.”