SINGAPORE — COVID-19 vaccination did not directly cause the heart condition of a 39-year-old woman which eventually led to her death, said two heart centres where she had sought treatment.
The joint statement on Thursday (27 January) morning by the National University Heart Centre, Singapore (NUHCS) and the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) was in response to Yahoo News Singapore's queries about online speculations that the woman's death was related to a second Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine taken nine months earlier.
The statement said that the case was referred to the coroner and investigations showed that the cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle. It did not specify which vaccines the woman was innoculated with.
The woman, who died on 12 January, had been identified as local football fan Christina Rodrigues Seah in a widely circulated screencap of a Facebook post by user Neubronner Jeremy, who identified himself as her boyfriend.
In it, Neubronner said that Seah was having heart palpitations shortly after her second Pfizer jab. "And it (went) downhill from here...she was diagnosed (with) inflammation of the heart (enlarged heart) that led to heart failure and (she needed a) pacemaker," he added.
The post also included a picture of a memo dated 29 October last year supposedly from a "Dr R Wong" from the NUHCS. The note stated that Seah's heart issues after her second jab were suspected to be vaccine-related and she was requested to take an alternative booster in the future.
The joint statement by the NUHCS and NHCS pointed out that the woman did not report feeling unwell nor had any allergic reaction after vaccination for both doses in April last year.
Laying out a timeline leading to her death, the statement noted that she was first admitted to the NUHCS for management of her cardiac condition in July.
"At the time, COVID-19 vaccination was not assessed to be a direct cause of her heart failure. Other causal factors such as genetic causes were considered, taking into account her family history," it added.
In September, she had undergone a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) heart scan and the results suggested that idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy was the underlying cause of her condition.
In December, the woman had sought a second opinion and treatment for her cardiac condition at the NHCS, the joint statement said.
When she was hospitalised there, the medical team discussed with her and her family "how to better manage her cardiac condition with various device implantation options".
The woman died a day before her follow-up appointment scheduled some time in January.
"We are saddened by her passing and would like to extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved family," said the statement.
"We seek the public’s understanding to avoid speculation or spreading of rumours that may add to the family’s grief during this difficult time."
An outpouring of condolences for Seah was posted online by those in the local football community. In a Facebook post dated 13 January by the Singapore Premier League, Seah was described as a "long-time supporter of Albirex Niigata FC Singapore" and a "skilled photographer".
"In both ways, she never failed to brighten up the stadium with her love and contribution for local football," the post noted.
As of December, 11,490,023 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Moderna/Spikevax mRNA vaccines have been administered.
Of them, 14,729 suspected adverse events, or 0.13 per cent of administered doses, were reported and received. Of these, 747 reports, or 0.007 per cent, were classified as serious adverse events.
To date, no death classified as vaccine-related has been reported in Singapore.
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