Researchers at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, have followed 312 Covid-19 patients for an entire year. 247 of them home-isolated, while 65 were hospitalized. At six months, 61 per cent of all patients had persistent symptoms, the researchers found. Among those who home-isolated, 52 per cent still experienced various symptoms after half a year.
Europe has seen major changes in coronavirus case rates over the last two months. In many areas of Europe covid case rates have dropped sufficiently to allow restrictions to be eased, but there are notable exceptions. The Covid-19 rate in Spain now appears to be as bad, if not worse, than two months ago, and the Netherlands has seen a dramatic increase in numbers recently.
In the case of both Spain and the Netherlands, the rates increased following the decision to unlock their countries too quickly, and in both cases those decisions have had to reversed within weeks. Greece too appears to be seeing a new wave, and these areas now represent the largest threat to Europe’s strategy to keeping infection rates down.
In the period 27 December 2020 to 15 February 2021, about 29,400 of Norway’s roughly 35,000 nursing home patients were vaccinated with the [Pfizer–BioNTech] mRNA vaccine BNT162b2. During the same period, the Norwegian Medicines Agency received 100 reports of suspected fatal adverse reactions to the vaccine. The mean age of the patients was 87.7 years (range 61–103 years). Among 100 reported deaths, a causal link to the vaccine was considered probable in 10 cases, possible in 26 and unlikely in 59. Five were unclassifiable.
Norwegian Study: Nursing home deaths after COVID-19 vaccination
BMJ report: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is “likely” responsible for deaths of some elderly patients, Norwegian review finds
Approx. 70 Norwegians have been infected with coronavirus after two concerts in a culture house in Færder Municipality last week, and many of them have been diagnosed with the Delta variant – the variant that was first found in India.
“All the positive samples are checked regularly for the Delta virus. We have not received answers to all the tests yet, but based on the answers we have received so far, we assume that everyone in this outbreak has the Delta variant,” says municipal chief physician Elin Jacobsen.
Seven of those infected in the outbreak had been vaccinated, including 80-year-old Britt Ingeborg Wilhelmsen.
Jyllands Post report (in Danish)
Norway vaccine side-effects to 11th May 2021 (Note: The Astrazeneca Vaxevria vaccine is no longer used in Norway)
The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that democratic governments can make vaccinations obligatory, in a landmark judgement rejecting complaints brought by Czech families penalised for refusing compulsory jabs for their children.
“The… measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic society'” the court ruled, saying that the Czech health policy was consistent with the “best interests” of children.
Our opinion: ** Is there an easier or quicker way of antagonising parents in the middle of a global viral pandemic than encouraging mandatory vaccinations? We can’t think of one. Expect severe blowback **
The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom.
The Governments of Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the World Health Organization (WHO), international experts who have a vital mission, and the global community to understand the origins of this pandemic in order to improve our collective global health security and response. Together, we support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China, while at the same time reinforcing the importance of working together toward the development and use of a swift, effective, transparent, science-based, and independent process for international evaluations of such outbreaks of unknown origin in the future.
The mission of the WHO is critical to advancing global health and health security, and we fully support its experts and staff and recognize their tireless work to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, including understanding how the pandemic started and spread. With such an important mandate, it is equally essential that we voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples. Scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings. We share these concerns not only for the benefit of learning all we can about the origins of this pandemic, but also to lay a pathway to a timely, transparent, evidence-based process for the next phase of this study as well as for the next health crises.
We note the findings and recommendations, including the need for further studies of animals to find the means of introduction into humans, and urge momentum for expert-driven phase 2 studies. Going forward, there must now be a renewed commitment by WHO and all Member States to access, transparency, and timeliness. In a serious outbreak of an unknown pathogen with pandemic potential, a rapid, independent, expert-led, and unimpeded evaluation of the origins is critical to better prepare our people, our public health institutions, our industries, and our governments to respond successfully to such an outbreak and prevent future pandemics. It is critical for independent experts to have full access to all pertinent human, animal, and environmental data, research, and personnel involved in the early stages of the outbreak relevant to determining how this pandemic emerged. With all data in hand, the international community may independently assess COVID-19 origins, learn valuable lessons from this pandemic, and prevent future devastating consequences from outbreaks of disease.
We underscore the need for a robust, comprehensive, and expert-led mechanism for expeditiously investigating outbreaks of unknown origin that is conducted with full and open collaboration among all stakeholders and in accordance with the principles of transparency, respect for privacy, and scientific and research integrity. We will work collaboratively and with the WHO to strengthen capacity, improve global health security, and inspire public confidence and trust in the world’s ability to detect, prepare for, and respond to future outbreaks.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has paused vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca after we became aware of cases of serious suspected side effects with the combination of blood clots, bleeding and low platelet counts. As of March 23, five such cases have been reported, three of the reports concern deaths, the other two are being treated in hospital. The Norwegian Medicines Agency believes that there is a probable connection with the AstraZeneca vaccine and these rare cases.
Further research is needed to clarify what triggers the rare disease picture. NIPH will decide on the further use of the AstraZeneca vaccine and will provide an update at the end of week 12.
Adverse reaction reports we have received do not provide a basis for changing the current recommendations for vaccination with Comirnaty (BioNtech / Pfizer) and COVID-19 vaccine Moderna.
The Norwegian Medicines Agency has received two reports of deaths in patients at OUS (Oslo University Hospital)
Five patients with a combination of thrombosis, haemorrhage and low platelet count admitted to OUS after vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine have previously been reported. One died earlier this week, now two more deaths have been reported.
If you have not had serious side effects 14 days after taking the AstraZeneca vaccine, you are probably not in danger of getting the rare course of the disease, the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) believes.
“We think you are out of the danger (zone) after 14 days. Then, it is unlikely that anything will happen. But this is based on the information we have on five patients, so there is quite limited patient material,” infection control director Geir Bukholm at the FHI told newspaper VG.
Norwegians are skeptical about the AstraZeneca vaccine and want a choice. This is the opinion of the leader of the Norwegian Association for General Practice, Marte Kvittum Tangen.
The past week’s reports in Norway and the rest of Europe about possible serious side effects of the vaccine have led to mistrust among citizens, she states to the Norwegian radio and television station NRK. This makes it difficult to continue with AstraZeneca’s vaccines, Tangen believes.
“I think it will be very difficult if we want the greatest possible vaccination coverage in the population in the long run,” she says.
Doctors in Norway have been told to conduct more thorough evaluations of very frail elderly patients in line to receive the Pfizer BioNTec vaccine against covid-19, following the deaths of 23 patients shortly after receiving the vaccine.
“It may be a coincidence, but we aren’t sure,” Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told The BMJ. “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.”
The agency has investigated 13 of the deaths so far and concluded that common adverse reactions of mRNA vaccines, such as fever, nausea, and diarrhoea, may have contributed to fatal outcomes in some of the frail patients.
“Wheezing, chest or stomach pain, swelling or coldness in an arm or leg, severe headache or worsening or blurred vision after vaccination, persistent bleeding, small multiple bruises, reddish or purplish spots or blisters of blood under the skin” – if you have these symptoms after vaccination against Covid with AstraZeneca serum seek medical help immediately and report that you have recently been vaccinated.
Scientists at Greifswald teaching hospital claim they have discovered the cause of blood clots among a small number of AstraZeneca vaccine recipients. Doctors say a targeted treatment can now be used.
Researchers at the Greifswald teaching hospital in northern Germany said on Friday that they had discovered the cause of the unusual blood clotting found in some recipients of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, public broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) reported.
The investigation showed how the vaccine caused rare thrombosis in the brain in a small number of patients. The discovery means that targeted treatment can be offered to those who suffer similar clotting, using a very common medication.
The researchers emphasized that treatment would only be possible in patients where blood clots appear, rather than as a preventative treatment.