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Rory Nairn: Pharmacist faulted for not warning of myocarditis risk from Covid-19 vaccine



The Health and Disability Commissioner has criticised a pharmacist for not providing enough information to Rory Nairn before he received the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

The 26-year-old Dunedin plumber died on 17 November 2021, 12 days after he was vaccinated against the virus.

A coronial inquest into the death in 2022 found his death was caused by myocarditis defined as inflammation of the heart muscle.

“I find that Rory James Nairn, aged 26, died on 17 November 2021 at … Dunedin. The cause of his death was myocarditis, due to vaccination with the Comirnaty TM Pfizer/BioN Tech Covid-19 vaccine,” coroner Sue Johnson said.

“My inquiry into Rory’s death is not yet concluded. I have yet to establish the circumstances of his death.”

But in further findings released on Monday, Johnson said the pharmacist who administered the jab did not inform Nairn of myocarditis because it was deemed “a very rare side-effect of the vaccine”.

In the following days following the vaccination, Nairn complained several times about his chest feeling “weird”.

On 17 November, he told his fiancée of the same feeling in the chest.

They discussed going to the hospital, but he said he would go to his own doctor later that morning.

He later collapsed and died in the couple’s bathroom.

The pharmacist had previously told the inquest she was not made aware of an expectation to inform patients of rare side-effects.

“This was because there had been material received through a number of sources detailing that risk.

“But she also said that she was not aware of any requirement to specifically discuss that with a customer on or before 5 November 2021.

“And that on the instructions of [her operating manager], she did not advise customers for vaccination about rare side-effects of the vaccine, such as myocarditis.”

The pharmacy manager also gave similar evidence, explaining she did not consider Nairn should have been advised about myocarditis before being vaccinated.

But he needed to be advised to contact the pharmacy or his doctor if he developed symptoms after the vaccination, she said.

Information sheets in the booth did not list myocarditis as a side-effect, but did advise if a person experienced a “racing heart or chest pain” in the days after the vaccine, medical attention should be sought.

A search of Nairn’s phone showed internet searches of “heart racing” and “myocarditis”.

Coroner Johnson said she was satisfied she did not need to make any recommendations as the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) had carried out a thorough investigation.

Commissioner Morag McDowell said he should have been told about the rare but serious risk of myocarditis and to watch out for any symptoms as part of safety-netting advice.

While there was a breach of his right to be informed about the risks, she did not find the code had been breached.

“She considered that there were significant mitigating factors in this case, including that official information sources did not make it adequately clear to vaccinators that consumers needed to be told about myocarditis prior to receiving the vaccination,” the report said.

But she noted that official guidance explicitly stated consumers must be advised about the symptoms, criticising the pharmacy for not picking this up and amending its processes.

“The commissioner was also critical that the vaccinating pharmacist did not inform the consumer about myocarditis, and, in particular, the symptoms of myocarditis, as part of safety-netting advice,” the report said.

McDowell noted the pharmacy had changed its practice since his death so the risk of myocarditis was specifically discussed.

She recommended that the pharmacy updated their informed consent processes and safety-netting advice for Covid-19 vaccines, sending their updated procedures to the commission within three months of the report.

She recommended Te Whatu Ora considered updating its guidelines to clarify when providers should discuss the risks and symptoms of myocarditis along with other side-effects.

“Lessons can be learned from this case about the fundamental importance, in the context of new vaccines and emerging risks, of explicit guidance to vaccinators about what information they must give to consumers.”

‘A small amount of closure’

Nairn’s partner said she did no blame the pharmacy or pharmacist who administered the vaccine.

But Ashleigh Wilson said there was a profound grief and a lot of anger towards a system that had failed its people.

“The decision brings a small amount of closure, however it is disappointing that no one will be held accountable for such a needless death,” she said.

She did not blame the pharmacy involved – which has name suppression – saying it was common practice for pharmacies not to advise consumers of heart-related side effects.

“The pharmacy was simply following the practices and protocols set out by ministry of health who unfortunately did not make clear the risks associated with the vaccination and that myocarditis could be a potential side effect,” Wilson said.

“At the coronial inquest we saw no evidence from the official sources in any documents that stated myocarditis could be fatal and instead it was called ‘rare and in most cases mild’.”

Nairn would be missed every day for the rest of their lives, she said.


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Police guarding scene after Massey house fire overnight



Seven fire trucks were required to put out a blaze in an abandoned house in Massey overnight.

The fire on Don Buck Rd was first reported around 10pm, with multiple calls coming in from the public, said Fire and Emergency NZ northern shift manager Carren Larking.

Nz herald

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Mother of missing Marokopa children posts letter she says is from their fugitive dad



The mother of the missing Marokopa children has published a letter which she says was written to her by the children’s fugitive father, Tom Phillips.

Police have been searching for Ember, eight, Maverick, nine, and Jayda, 10, since December 2021, when they were taken by Phillips to an unknown location – though police believe it was in Western Waikato within Marokopa or the surrounding areas.

Tom Phillips does not have legal custody of the children and there is a warrant out for his arrest.

A picture posted by Cat on social media which she says is the last birthday we got to celebrate with Jayda as a family.

A picture posted by Cat on social media which she says is “the last birthday we got to celebrate with Jayda as a family”. Photo: Supplied

Posting on Facebook, their mother, known as Cat, said she was “well aware of the hateful rumours being spread around” and asked that people knew her before judging her.

She said she was sharing the letter to show that all was not as it seemed and to assure people that the children would be coming home to a loving and stable family.

Cat said she along with their two sisters, grandparents, aunties and cousins would be waiting for them.

The handwritten letter – which is not dated or signed and which RNZ has not been able to verify – describes the writer’s love for Cat, apologises to her and says he has a good heart and means well.

“I know if I ever give up trying to make things right I will regret it forever,” the letter says.

“Im sorry for everything I have ever said or done to hurt you,” it says.

The letter goes on to say that “although I make multiple f*** ups I have a good heart and I mean well”.

“We have an awesome family and thats worth fighting for,” is the last line of the letter.

Cat said she had not spoken out earlier because she did not believe it would bring her children home, but the fact that police were now offering a substantial reward had given her the courage to break her silence.

On Tuesday Cat broke her silence to make a video appeal provided by police for people’s help in returning the children to her.

Police have offered an $80,000 reward for information that would help discover the whereabouts of three children and lead to their safe return.

RNZ has contacted the police to verify whether they knew about the letter and whether they can confirm it is from Tom Phillips.



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Nicola Willis challenged over climate change, cancer drugs



Finance Minister Nicola Willis has revealed new details about the timeline for cancer drug funding, and faced a barrage of questions over climate under questioning from MPs.

Willis appeared before the Finance and Expenditure Committee on Wednesday as part of Parliament’s first Scrutiny Week, a new initiative which allows for extended questioning of ministers over the government’s spending.

She quickly came under fire from Labour’s Finance and Climate spokespeople Barbara Edmonds and Megan Woods, and the Greens’ co-leader and Finance spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick.

Cancer drugs

The election policy of funding 13 specific cancer drugs had been a glaring broken promise from this year’s Budget.

Willis told the committee MPs that as the Budget for this year was formulated, the cancer drugs policy “did require more work”, and she outlined how the government intended to pay for the drugs using money from next year’s Budget while still working to supply the promised drugs.

“It was not resolved in time for Budget 2024, so we agreed it would be a priority for funding set aside in Budget 2025,” she said. “So we are now working diligently on the policy delivery ahead of Budget 2025, with a view to making a decision on it shortly.”

However, she soon clarified that “we will be funding those drugs this year”, and the reason the policy was not funded in this year’s Budget was “we still had significant policy choices to make as we worked through the problem. And so it wasn’t appropriate to set aside a contingency until those fundamental policy decisions had been made”.

She later explained under questioning from Woods that people would be able to access at least some of the drugs before 2025.

“We will be making an announcement that will ensure that some of those medicines are funded this year,” she said.

Woods questioned if that would mean funding for the drugs this year, and Willis agreed.

Under questioning from Edmonds she said expressed confidence that the government would find the money, noting the government had already approved health funding from the 2025 and 2026 Budgets.

“As the member says, budgets are about priorities – and we are confident that, because this policy is a priority, we can and will fund it.”

She later told reporters at Parliament the word “some” was “just a use of a word, we will be funding the 13 medicines, we’ve made that commitment, we’ll be making announcements on it shortly”.

When pressed, however, she would not confirm whether that meant all 13 specific drugs listed in National’s policy would be funded and available before 2025.

“We’ll make a full announcement with the details of how drugs will be accessed and what dates in due course. I’m not making that announcement today.”

She also refused to shed light on how exactly the drugs would be funded.

Climate change

Swarbrick focused in on the Budget and its effect on climate change, asking how Williis could account for the $700m her Budget assumed would be coming from Emissions Trading Scheme revenue when today’s unit auction appeared likely to fail.

Swarbrick highlighted that at an expected $58 price point they would fall short of the $60 lower limit at which the units would be permitted to sell, and asked what would happen if the units failed to sell, but Willis said she was “not going to go into a hypothetical”.

“We have a requirement for approximately $2.9b in terms of your numbers stacking up here for revenue from the emissions trading scheme,” Swarbrick said, “but you’ve also have presented a Budget which cuts approximately $15m from market governance and integrity of the emissions trading scheme, so I’m wondering if you could help us reconcile those things”.

“It is very important … that I not in any way influence auction behaviour,” she said. “We want it to be a functional, effective, reliable market.”

When Swarbrick pushed her on why the funding had been cut from the efficacy and market governance, Willis said the government did not consider that funding necessary to improving the market’s operations, and rejected Swarbrick’s characterisation there was “next to no meaningful regulation of the ETS market, for example insider trading is technically legal”.

“We do not have concerns about the current way in which the ETS is regulated,” Willis said. She noted the government was yet to release the second Emissions Reduction Plan, due in December. That plan would set out how the government intends to achieve the emisssions reductions set out in the Emissions Budget, in line with international obligations.

“The government is doing its own work on the emissions reduction plan and we envisage the ETS will play a critical role,” Willis said. She also pointed to some initiatives the government had not scrapped in this year’s Budget including the rollout of electric vehicle chargers and the purchase of electric buses for local councils to buy.

Swarbrick earlier asked whether the decisions in this year’s Budget would increase or decrease emissions. Willis acknowledged climate impact policy assessments had showed they “won’t make a significant material difference to emission period 1. Over the second two emission periods, they will have an impact of potentially increasing emissions”.

However, she questioned whether those reports were “as good as they could be”, and pointed to the emissions impact report having included policies like more police on the roads, and upgrades to Defence Force equipment and infrastructure, as examples of where the reports were questionable.

“My point is it is not always appropriate to narrowly look at a policy based simply on its emission impact, because I don’t think there is a New Zealander who would say ‘I don’t want you hiring more police because it might add to emissions’.”

She later told reporters the assessment only looked at a subset of 40 initiatives.

Swarbrick also asked about the $3 billion to $24b the government is estimated to need to fork out in “offshore liability” – buying foreign climate credits to make up for the lack of domestic emissions reductions, and whether Willis had budgeted for those expected costs this year.

“No, I have not,” Willis said. “That has not been a priority in this Budget.”


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