Italy opens manslaughter case after teacher dies hours after getting AstraZeneca vaccine

By Lee Brown    |16 March 2021

Sandro Tognatti died hours after getting the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Prosecutors in Italy have launched a manslaughter investigation after a music teacher there died hours after getting the controversial AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Sandro Tognatti, 57, got jabbed in his hometown of Biella on Saturday afternoon and went to bed that night with a high fever, his wife, Simona Riussi, told Italian media.

She called an ambulance the next morning but the clarinetist could not be saved, she said.

Prosecutors in the northern Italian region of Piedmont opened the probe into his death later that day, according to the Italian wire service Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA).

They also seized nearly 400,000 shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the same batch.

So far, officials have insisted there has yet to be a direct link between Tognatti’s death and his shot.

The criminal investigation is to be “completely sure” that the death “cannot be attributed to the above-mentioned inoculation,” prosecutor Teresa Angela Camelio said in a statement. 

Italy on Monday joined a growing group of mostly European nations temporarily suspending the UK vaccine amid alarming reports of blood clots in some participants.

They were joined Monday by France and Germany, with the likes of Ireland, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Luxembourg and Thailand having already suspended its use.

AstraZeneca — which developed the shot with Oxford University — says the vaccine is safe, an assertion backed up by the World Health Organization.

The vaccine has yet to be approved for use in the US — but the drugmaker is reportedly pushing for emergency-use approval by the end of this month.


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