'Data on natural deaths would ease fears over jabs' - RTHK
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'Data on natural deaths would ease fears over jabs'

2021-03-05 HKT 11:20
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  • Ho Pak-leung says people should compare the mortality rate among people who are vaccinated with those who are not. File photo: RTHK
    Ho Pak-leung says people should compare the mortality rate among people who are vaccinated with those who are not. File photo: RTHK
An infectious disease expert on Friday urged the government to release more information about natural deaths in Hong Kong to put people’s minds at ease about the safety of coronavirus vaccines, saying it is “evident” that the recent death of a 63-year-old man was not caused by a jab produced by mainland drug-maker Sinovac.

Dr Ho Pak-leung of the University of Hong Kong told an RTHK programme that the safety of vaccines should not be judged based on these isolated cases.

He said people should compare the city's mortality rate before and after the vaccination programme started.

He suggested that the government should provide the public with more data about natural deaths occurring in different age groups, for comparison.

“There are natural deaths in Hong Kong and around the world every day. Most of them are the elderly and people with chronic diseases,” he said.

“So when you start giving coronavirus vaccines to these people, you have to see whether the probability of having complications such as strokes and heart attacks as well as deaths has changed, compared with that among people who are not vaccinated.”

He said more than 40 million people in the US have taken at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and 1,100 people died afterwards.

He noted that the number of deaths is no different or even lower than before the vaccination roll-out was launched.

Ho reiterated that the benefit of getting vaccinated outweighs the risk among elderly people and those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, as it’s more likely that they would need intensive care or die if they are infected with Covid-19.