Appendix 1: Example COVID-19 Vaccination Cause of Death Cases
An 87yo man whose medical history includes ischaemic heart disease, prostate cancer (in remission), asthma and eczema died suddenly at home. He had received a COVID-19 vaccine six weeks earlier followed by the flu vaccine two weeks later. He had been well since then and had woken early that morning for his regular walk to buy the papers and returned home where he performed his morning meditation. His wife went back to bed and woke two hours later to find him slumped in the hallway near the bathroom showing no signs of life.
Recommendation: In this example, the combination of his age, comorbidities, recent wellness and time interval between vaccinations and death makes the death unlikely to be vaccine related. It is reasonable to issue a cause of death certificate based on his age and comorbidities.
An 83yo male residential aged care resident died the day after he received the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. He was being managed palliatively for an obstructing duodenal mass not amenable to surgical management with a life expectancy of weeks. He died peacefully in his sleep.
Recommendation: In this example, the combination of his age, limited life expectancy due to a known malignancy and brand of vaccine makes the death unlikely to be vaccine-related notwithstanding the time interval between the vaccine and death. It is reasonable to issue a cause of death certificate based on his pre-existing comorbidities.
A 73yo woman whose medical history includes uncontrolled hypertension, poorly managed Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, supraventricular tachycardia/palpitations, haemochromatosis, osteoarthritis and right mastectomy from breast cancer in 2006, died in her sleep at home. She had received a COVID-19 vaccine four days prior to her death. According to her husband, she complained of mild flu-like symptoms after vaccination i.e. aches and pains and pain at the injection site. These symptoms resolved after 48 hours and by the day prior to her death.
Recommendation: In this example, the combination of her age and the absence of symptoms of anaphylactic reaction or symptoms associated with a clotting complication makes the death unlikely to be vaccine related notwithstanding the time interval between vaccination and death. It is reasonable to issue a cause of death certificate based on her pre- existing comorbidities.
An 83yo man with a significant medical history including severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) on home oxygen, pulmonary hypertension, bilateral femoral artery aneurysms, abdominal aortic aneurysm Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, scleroderma, polymyalgia rheumatica and osteoarthritis died at home five days after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. He had become lightheaded and acutely short of breath soon after receiving the vaccine and was transferred to hospital where he remained for three days with a working diagnosis of acute exacerbation of COPD before being discharged home for GP follow up.
Recommendation: In this example, the combination of his age, comorbidities and absence of symptoms of anaphylactic reaction or symptoms associated with a clotting complication make the death unlikely to be vaccine related notwithstanding the recency of the vaccine and his post-vaccine deterioration. It is recommended that the treating GP seek clarification from the hospital treating team about his condition on discharge home and speak with the family to
Attributing deaths to COVID-19 vaccines v.1.3 Page 4