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image sourceGetty Imagesimage captionHeart inflammation is a "very rare" side-effect of the Covid vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna

New Zealand has reported what it believes to be its first death linked to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

An independent vaccine safety monitoring board said the woman's death was "probably" due to myocarditis or inflammation of the heart muscle, a rare side effect of the jab.

It also noted there were other medical issues which could have "influenced the outcome following vaccination".

The official cause of death has not yet been determined.

However, the Covid-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board said the myocarditis was "probably due to vaccination".

"This is the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. While the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring has received other reports of deaths in someone recently vaccinated, none are considered related to vaccination," it said in a statement.

The woman's death is being investigated further and a coroner is due to rule on the case. Officials have not released any further details, including the woman's age.

Myocarditis is a "very rare" side effect of the Covid vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, according to regulators in Europe.

  • Heart inflammation link to Pfizer and Moderna jabs

The European Medicines Agency said the side-effects were more common in younger men.

But it has stressed that the benefits of vaccines continue to far outweigh any risks, as they help to stop people from getting very sick with Covid-19.

On Monday New Zealand officials said they "remain confident about using it in New Zealand".

According to Johns Hopkins University, the country has seen 3,465 Covid cases and 26 deaths so far.

While it was initially praised for its handling of the virus, New Zealand has since seen a slow roll-out of vaccines which it has been ramping up in recent days.

More than three million vaccine doses have been administered, with about 23% of the population being fully vaccinated.

A recent spike in Covid cases, attributed to the Delta variant, has put large parts of the country into lockdown. There are currently more than 560 cases in the country of about 5 million people.

Restrictions are set to ease on Tuesday, apart from the country's biggest city Auckland.