Bali officials reproach media for reporting man’s death was due to COVID-19 vaccine

A visualization of the coronavirus via US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
A visualization of the coronavirus via US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Officials in Bali have reproached media outlets for reporting that the death of a man in Denpasar on Monday was related to his recent COVID-19 vaccination.

The officials say the link has yet to be established.

“It’s very regrettable that there are many news reports saying that the victim died because of the vaccine, when there is no official explanation from any competent party,” Gede Pramana, Head of the Communications, Informatics and Statistics Agency in Bali, said yesterday. 

Pramana said that negative reports regarding vaccinations that are presented without accurate data may increase anxiety among the public. 

On Monday, a man in his 40s identified as MAM was found dead and alone in the room he rented at a boarding house (kost) in Denpasar. According to the chief of the village where MAM lived, the deceased got his AstraZeneca vaccine shot last Saturday. 

Bali Health Agency Chief Ketut Suarjaya said MAM had been sick for about a week prior to his death, and had been resting up in his home a lot as he suffered from headaches and cold sweats. He also confirmed that MAM had a history of high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. 

“We cannot conclude that [MAM] died because of the vaccine. After getting the vaccine there was an observation and he was fine,” Suarjaya said. 

“So don’t make the connection that someone dying is due to COVID or someone dying a few days after getting the vaccine is due to the vaccine.”

Indonesia recently recalled nearly half-a-million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for analysis amid concerns of severe side effects and possible links to several deaths. However, the National Commission on Post-Immunization Accidents (Komnas KIPI) said that as of last Friday, there have been no deaths related to any COVID-19 vaccination in Indonesia. 

“The results of investigations on suspected deaths due to the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines showed that they were unrelated to the vaccines, but were due to underlying illnesses,” the commission said in a statement.

Those illnesses include heart disease, impaired kidney function, diabetes, and uncontrolled hypertension.

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