Two more people died in Hong Kong this week shortly after receiving doses of the Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine candidate “Coronavac,” bringing the number of Hong Kong deaths unofficially tied to it to nine.
“The latest deaths involved two chronically ill patients who took the China-made Sinovac jab. An 80-year-old woman who was vaccinated on March 2 died on Friday [March 19], while a 60-year-old man died on Wednesday [March 24] after getting vaccinated on March 11. Previously, seven people had died following Sinovac jabs [in Hong Kong],” the South China Morning Post reported on March 24.
Coronavac, manufactured by the Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, has an efficacy rate of 50.38 percent against the Chinese coronavirus, according to late-stage clinical data published in January.
“[A] 60-year-old man with history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and carotid artery disease … complained of chest discomfort and was found collapsed at home in the early morning of March 24. He was then admitted to the Accident and Emergency Department of Yan Chai Hospital and passed away this morning,” the Hong Kong Department of Health said in a press release on Wednesday. “According to available information, he had received a dose of Coronavac COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine on March 11, i.e. 13 days before his death.”
The Hong Kong Department of Health says preliminary investigations into all nine deaths of people who had recently received doses of the Sinovac product shows the vaccine candidate “did not have direct causal association” with the fatalities. Hong Kong government officials waived health requirements in the city to allow Sinovac’s use among senior citizens despite knowing that China banned the shot’s use in people age 60 and over due to safety concerns. Almost all of the Hongkongers who died in recent weeks shortly after receiving doses of Sinovac were age 60 or over.
In addition to the deaths, several people have been admitted to intensive care units for medical treatment shortly after receiving doses of Coronavac in recent weeks. At least ten people have suffered temporary facial paralysis, known as Bell’s Palsy, shortly after receiving doses of Coronavac, with nine such cases reported on Wednesday alone.
“The Expert Committee has also reviewed a report of anaphylaxis and a number of reports of Bell’s palsy. While Bell’s palsy (temporary one-sided facial drooping) is one of the listed rare side effects of Comirnaty [Sinovac], the Expert Committee would continue to look into these cases,” the Hong Kong Department of Health said on Wednesday. The bureau established the “expert committee” this month to investigate mounting reports of “serious adverse events relating to COVID-19 [coronavirus] vaccination.”x