Timble Li, 63, got the Sinovac vaccine at a community centre at Kwun Chung Sports Centre on February 26 – the day Hong Kong’s vaccination campaign started.
Experiencing shortness of breath two days later, he sought treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and died the same day.
As witnesses, the Coroner’s Court summoned relatives of Li, some of his friends, pathologists and doctors who treated him.
Directing the jurors before they deliberated on their verdict, coroner Monica Chow gave them two options to choose from.
She said the jury should rule that Li had died of “natural causes” if it accepted the testimonies of doctors and pathologists regarding existing heart problems and that the patient had died of acute pulmonary oedema caused by a heart attack. She said this potential ruling would mean that Li had suffered from heart blockage issues, and that his death was not related to his vaccination.
Alternatively, the jury could return an open verdict, if it was not satisfied with the experts’ testimonies and believed that there were other factors leading to Li’s death.
After a four-hour deliberation, the jury reached an open verdict.
A pamphlet designed by the Department of Health says people with “uncontrolled severe chronic diseases” should not receive the Sinovac jab. The jury said in future, the department should provide concrete examples of such diseases in layman’s terms, to make sure people understand whether or not they are suitable for vaccination.