Third death considered linked to COVID-19 vaccine

on 12 April

Kia ora,

Today, the Ministry of Health has published a statement regarding a death following vaccination with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty).

This is the third death in New Zealand that is considered to be linked to vaccination with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. All three cases are currently with coroners to determine the cause of death. 

Below are our standing messages regarding myocarditis and pericarditis. You can view the statement on the Ministry website:

Myocarditis and pericarditis 

  • Myocarditis and pericarditis are usually caused by viral infections (including COVID-19), but they are also very rare and serious side effects of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, while pericarditis is inflammation of the tissue forming a sac around the heart. 
  • Symptoms of myocarditis or pericarditis linked to the vaccine generally appear within a few days, and mostly within the first few weeks after being vaccinated (including after the booster). If you get any of these new symptoms after your vaccination, you should seek medical help, especially if these symptoms don’t go away: 
  • tightness, heaviness, discomfort or pain in your chest or neck
  • difficulty breathing or catching your breath
  • feeling faint or dizzy or light-headed
  • fluttering, racing or pounding heart, or feeling like it is ‘skipping beats’.
  • If you feel any of these symptoms in the days or weeks after the vaccine, you should see a GP – there will be no charge for the consultation. You can also call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 anytime to get advice.  
  • If you’re concerned about your safety, call 111. Tell them you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccination so they can assess you properly.


Ngā mihi nui,


Sandy Thambiah l Senior Advisor – Engagement
National Immunisation Programme l Manatū Hauora


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