A 64-year-old man from Placer County, California died on Jan. 21, 2021 approximately three hours after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. It was unclear whether the man, a health care worker at a senior living facility, had been given the Pfizer/BioNTech’s BNT162b2 vaccine or Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine. The only two experimental COVID-19 vaccines that have been granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be distributed in the U.S. are manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.1 2 3 4
According to a news report, a local woman whose grandfather is a resident at the senior home said she saw the deceased get the vaccine.2 In a post on Facebook, the woman wrote:
Twenty minutes later he realized his legs felt tingly and he was having shortness of breath. He was wheeled out in an ambulance… 1 hour later he was in ICU on a ventilator and three hours later he passed away. Hearing this broke my families [sic] heart as he has taken care of my grandpa for years, and was there helping as we were coming to say our goodbyes.2
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office has cautioned against speculating about the cause of the man’s death, saying that the case is under investigation by “multiple local, state, and federal agencies” and that “any reports surrounding the cause of death are premature.”
The Sheriff’s Office, however, confirmed that the vaccine was not administered by the Placer County Public Health Division, which is coordinating the COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the country based on recommendations from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the COVID-19 California Governor’s Vaccine Task Force and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Working Group.1 4 5
In a statement released to the public, the CDPH said:
We take these instances seriously which is why we are working with our government partners to investigate the cause. We are working collaboratively and will continue to use data and science to determine how to proceed.1
Distribution of mRNA-1273 Vaccine Doses Paused Due to Anaphylactic Reactions
Following reports of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine in California, state health officials temporarily paused distribution of more than 300,000 doses of Lot 041L20A of that COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 18.6
State epidemiologist Erica Pan, MD, said:
Out of an extreme abundance of caution and also recognizing the extremely limited supply of vaccine, we are recommending that providers use other available vaccine inventory and pause the administration of vaccines from Moderna Lot 041L20A until the investigation by the CDC, FDA, Moderna and the state is complete.6
The CDPH resumed administering doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine from Lot 041L20A on Jan. 21 after discussions with representatives of the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other government health officials. Dr. Pan said it was determined there was no “scientific basis” to continue the pause in administration of the vaccine.7
Click here to view References:
1 Kenton L. Californian dies hours after receiving COVID vaccine as investigation into cause of death gets underway. Daily Mail Jan. 24, 2021.
2 Perlman M. No Link Found Yet: Auburn Woman Warns She Saw Grandfather’s Aid Die After COVID Vaccine. CBS Sacramento Jan. 25, 2021
3 Sforza T. Health care worker dies after second dose of COVID vaccine, investigations underway. The Orange County Register Jan. 26, 2021.
4 KRON4 Staff. Placer County resident died hours after COVID-19 vaccine: sheriff. KRON4 Jan. 24, 2021.
5 County of Placer Health & Human Services. COVID-19 Response.
6 Bonifield J. California pauses giving out shots from one lot of coronavirus vaccine. CNN Jan. 19 2021.
7 Reuters Staff. California resumes Moderna COVID-19 vaccine usage after pause. Reuters Jan. 21, 2021.