We thank Dr. Gatrell for his comments on our article (1). Our title is merely descriptive; the residents included in our review actually died shortly after covid-19 vaccination.
We agree that epidemiological data on excess mortality in the nursing home population during the period of vaccination would also be interesting. Nevertheless, we feel that such data, in a population with a high short-term mortality and multiple confounding factors, would not made a possible association between vaccination and death clearer.
Our main approach was another. We scrutinized available clinical information regarding 100 deaths suspected to be causally linked to covid-19 vaccination. Among these, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health had initially categorised 83 as possibly related to vaccination. As Dr. Gatrell correctly addresses, clinical data were scarce, but we nevertheless reclassified the relationship as unlikely in 59 cases. Thus, we do not agree that our work in any way feeds the anti-vaccination movement. On the contrary, we argue that when a suspicion of a causal link between vaccination and death was made public (2), not trying to clarify these 100 cases more likely would have encouraged vaccination scepticism.
1. Wyller TB, Kittang BR, Ranhoff AH et al. Nursing home deaths after COVID-19 vaccination. Tidsskr Nor Legeforen 2021. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.21.0383
2. Torjesen I. Covid-19: Norway investigates 23 deaths in frail elderly patients after vaccination. BMJ 2021; 372: n149.