Did Dr Vincent Wang die from a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?
Take a look at the viral story, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Dr Vincent Wang Died From Pfizer Booster Dose!
The Taiwanese medical community is in shock over the death of Dr Vincent Wang Weisheng, who was the former Director of the Infectious Disease Department of the Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei.
His story went viral recently when it was shared on an anti-vaccination blog called NoMoreSilence, whose article was also shared in WhatsApp.
It’s rather long, so you can skip to the next section for the facts…
Did Dr Vincent Wang Die From Pfizer Booster Dose?
Before I start, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the Wang family.
The truth is – NO ONE can be certain, because an autopsy was not conducted. Therefore, it is wrong for anyone to claim that he died from the Pfizer booster dose.
Based on what we know about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it is highly unlikely that Dr Vincent Wang’s death was due to the booster dose. But we cannot definitively confirm that without an autopsy either.
So this case ultimately boils down to a single issue – paying for the autopsy, which costs about $8,000. Fortunately, many donors chipped in almost $80,000, exceeding their goal of $30,000.
Now that the Wang family is able to afford the autopsy, everyone should WAIT for the autopsy results, and NOT jump to any conclusion.
That said, I will now share some of the facts that can already be ascertained, and why I believe that Dr Wang’s death will likely be determined to be unrelated to the Pfizer booster dose.
Fact #1 : Dr Vincent Wang Retired + Migrated In 2019
According to his daughter, Dr Vincent Wang retired and their family migrated to the United States in the middle of 2019.
From what I understand, they are currently living in the state of Washington. This will be important in the next point.
Fact #2 : Autopsy Not Mandatory For Sudden Death
Healthcare law is not uniform in the United States, and varies from state to state. According to the CDC, an autopsy is only mandatory in some states (not all!) for certain kinds of deaths :
- Accident : 41 states
- Suicide : 41 states
- Violence : 38 states
- Homicide : 28 states
- Suspicious / unusual / unnatural : 44 states
- Sudden death in apparent good health : 35 states
- Found dead / at home : 8 states
In the state of Washington, sudden death even in apparent good health does NOT warrant an autopsy or medical investigation. This is why the Wang family has to pay for a private autopsy.
Those of us from countries with national / universal healthcare will find this extremely odd, but this is the nature of the American healthcare system.
Fact #3 : Pfizer Booster Dose Was Only Approved On 22 September
The story claims that Dr Wang received his booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine on 2 September 2021.
That seems improbable since the US FDA only approved the Pfizer booster dose on 22 September 2021 – 20 days later.
In fact, the VRBPAC (Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee) only convened a public meeting to decide on the booster dose’s approval on 17 September 2021.
It is also unlikely that he was part of the Phase 3 trial for the Pfizer booster dose, because that concluded in March or April 2021, with a data cutoff date of 17 June 2021.
Fact #4 : Pfizer Booster Dose Only For 65+ / Adults With Medical Conditions
As of 7 October 2021, the CDC restricts the Pfizer booster dose shots to a select group of people who completed their first two doses at least 6 months earlier :
- adults who are 65 years and older
- 18-64 year old adults with medical conditions
- 18+ adults who live in long-term care settings
- 18+ adults who work in high-risk settings
- 18+ adults who live in high-risk settings
Dr Vincent Wang was only 54 years old, and was not working as a doctor (he retired before migrating to the United States). He was also living in his own home.
Therefore, he would only qualify for a Pfizer booster dose if he had an underlying medical condition like cancer, chronic kidney or lung disease, diabetes, immunodeficiencies, obesity, etc.
Now, we do NOT know if he actually had an underlying medical condition. But unless he was working in a high risk job, or living in a high-risk setting, that would the most likely reason for him to qualify for a Pfizer booster dose.
Fact #5 : Pfizer Booster Dose Proven Safe In Clinical Trial
On 17 September 2021, Pfizer publicly released the clinical trial data for their COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.
It showed that the participants did NOT suffer any serious side effect from the booster dose :
- No anaphylactic reaction were reported within 30 minutes of getting the booster dose
- No deaths, serious or life-threatening adverse events, were reported
- Older adults reported side effects like fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain and joint pain that lasted only 1-2 days.
- There were no cases of anaphylaxis, hypersensitivity, Bell’s palsy, myocarditis / pericarditis in the 2-3 months of follow-up.
This is pretty much what we would expect for a third dose. Those who had no issues with the first two doses, should have no issue with the booster dose.
It’s the same vaccine, after all. If you are allergic to the vaccine, you would have experienced an anaphylactic reaction with the first dose.
Fact #6 : Booster Dose Is Just A Refresher Class
Vaccines are really just self-defence classes that teach our immune system how to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus, so it can produce antibodies to fight off an actual infection.
A booster dose is like a refresher class in college that you take just before a big exam. It reminds your immune system that COVID-19 should be taken seriously, and kickstarts the production of fresh antibodies.
If you have no trouble with the first two self-defence classes, why should a refresher class be a problem?
Fact #7 : Dr Wang Died Two Weeks After Booster Dose
The story allegedly written by Dr Wang’s wife said that he felt dizzy and fell down the stairs three days after receiving his Pfizer booster dose.
But oddly enough, he did not go to the hospital and was apparently fine 10 days later before dying in his sleep the next day – 2 weeks after his booster dose.
In her GoFundMe post, his daughter confirmed that he felt dizzy for several days and fell off the stairs after getting the booster dose, but said that he passed away at home “without any symptoms“.
So unless the autopsy turns up evidence that his death was in any way related to the booster dose, it is certainly more likely (for now) that they are unrelated.
In any case, I hope the autopsy will help the Wang family find out what really happened to their father and husband, and settle all ambiguities for good.
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