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MOH says 72-year-old woman’s death unrelated to Covid-19 vaccination; family seeking more answers

SINGAPORE — There was no indication that a woman who died a day after she had taken her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine had any allergic reaction to the jab, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Saturday (June 19). It added that the 72-year-old had died of a heart attack earlier this month.

MOH says 72-year-old woman’s death unrelated to Covid-19 vaccination; family seeking more answers

Doreen Chan was taken to Sengkang General Hospital on June 4, 2021, where she died after attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

  • A 72-year-old woman who died a day after getting her first Covid-19 vaccine dose had suffered a heart attack
  • An autopsy found that “there were no indications of an allergic reaction to the vaccines”, MOH said
  • The woman’s son posted on Facebook to ask if the vaccine could be behind her death
  • He told TODAY that the family hopes to apply for compensation under the a government scheme

 

SINGAPORE — There was no indication that a woman who died a day after she had taken her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine had any allergic reaction to the jab, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Saturday (June 19). It added that the 72-year-old had died of a heart attack earlier this month. 

MOH was responding to media queries about a Facebook post by Mr Andrew Tan, who questioned if the vaccine had caused the death of his mother, Doreen Chan.

In its statement, MOH said that it was alerted to the death of the woman at Sengkang General Hospital on June 4, and that she had been vaccinated with the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine the day before. 

“She had been assessed by trained healthcare personnel to be suitable for Covid-19 vaccination prior to vaccination,” MOH said without naming the deceased.

“In line with our protocols, she was also observed on-site for about 30 minutes post-vaccination and was well.”

MOH added that the coroner had determined the cause of the woman’s death to be ischaemic heart disease, after an autopsy was conducted. 

“The autopsy found long-standing blockage of the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart muscles, which could not be caused by vaccination. There was also no indications of an allergic reaction to the vaccines,” the ministry said.

"We offer our sincere condolences to the family during this difficult time."

In an updated statement on Saturday night, MOH explained that ischaemic heart disease is the term given to heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries.

It added that the coroner "is legally separate from and independent" of the ministry and "determines the definitive cause of death".

"Sengkang General Hospital has reached out to the family to offer assistance. The ministry will also come in to help as needed," MOH said.

In a separate statement on Saturday, Sengkang General Hospital said that the woman was sent to the hospital at about 8.40pm on June 4, after she collapsed at home.

The hospital's emergency department team began immediate resuscitation. 

"Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the patient passed on," it said, adding that it would also like to express its deepest condolences to the family.  

The death of the woman comes after a similar death involving a 57-year-old man, who had died of a heart attack a day after he had received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 

MOH said then that based on the assessment by an independent clinical panel, there was no indication that the death was due to the vaccination, and the certified cause was acute myocardial infarction, which is the medical term for a heart attack.

In his Facebook post on Wednesday, Mr Tan said that “everything seemed fine” with her mother after her first jab, until about 7pm the next day, when she collapsed. 

Despite attempts by her father and hospital workers to resuscitate her, she died at about 9pm on June 4. 

He said that a police investigation officer had asked his family about possible factors leading to her death, such as foul play or pre-existing medical conditions. 

He then asked both the police officer and hospital staff members on several occasions if his mother’s death could be linked to her vaccination. 

When the death certificate was issued, it indicated ischaemic heart disease or heart attack as the cause of death, Mr Tan wrote. 

He then asked a counter staff member if the death could have been caused by the vaccine but was told that it could only be answered by a pathologist.

Mr Tan said that he then called the investigating officer and was told that he would need to be prepared to wait because inquiries related to Covid-19 have "a four-month waiting line".

“Even though the anomaly was the vaccine, I knew I was not going to get my answer,” he wrote in his Facebook post.

He also called on others to share his account and for those who had similar experiences to contact him as he hopes “to seek the truth”.

He said that he was not advocating that people should not be vaccinated, adding that he was fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Contacted by TODAY on Saturday, Mr Tan, 48, said that his father had reached out to MOH, the Health Sciences Authority as well as to the Member of Parliament (MP) in his area, Ms Sun Xue Ling, for help. 

His father had met Ms Sun, who is MP for Punggol West, on Saturday, but the meeting was “mostly investigative” and that she would help connect the family to MOH, he added.

TODAY has reached out to Ms Sun for comments.

Mr Tan, an e-commerce trainer, said that his mother had been diagnosed with ischemic heart disease only recently in April and was given medication for her condition. 

“My mum was very diligent with medication and always went for regular checkups,” Mr Tan said. 

“She didn't eat any unhealthy food and was very careful with her diet… she was a perfectly functioning healthy, normal woman.” 

He is planning to apply for financial aid under the vaccine injury financial assistance programme for Covid-19 vaccination, which provides payouts to those who may be adversely affected by their inoculation.

He added that his father is wheelchair-bound and the family is hoping for some form of compensation, because one of his caretakers was his wife. 

“My mum had been his pillar of support for all the while he has been wheelchair-bound,” Mr Tan said, adding that his father’s support system has “gone haywire” since the death of his wife.

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Covid-19 vaccine vaccination coronavirus death MOH

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