A man in his 40s died on Jan. 17, 2021 in Nebraska 10 to 14 days after receiving the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The man, whose name has not been released to the public, lived in a long-term care facility and reportedly had several underlying health conditions. According to news reports, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated it would investigate the case after “local health officials listed the COVID-19 vaccine as one of several causes of death.”1 2 3 4 5 6
It is unclear which one of the experimental COVID-19 vaccines, which are being distributed under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the man had been given. At the time of his death, only two vaccines had been granted EUAs by the FDA—Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine and Pfizer/BioNTech’s BNT162b2.6
Vaccine Listed as One of the Causes of Death on Death Certificate
In a press conference held on Feb. 12, Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts confirmed the CDC’s plans to investigate the case and determine how the vaccine may have played a role in the man’s death.3 5 Gov. Ricketts said:
It’s not clear that this person died because of the vaccine. It was listed as one of the causes in the death certificate. That’s why we do the investigation. And the fact that it happened one to two weeks after the person received the vaccine means there was not a severe allergic reaction at the time the person received the vaccine.3 5
“Typically, COVID-19 vaccine deaths can be attributed to anaphylaxis and occur within a relatively short period after the vaccine is given, which is why monitoring is done,” said Gary Anthone, MD, chief medical officer for Nebraska. “While I cannot speculate on this case, when individuals die days or weeks after the vaccine has been administered, it is more likely due to other underlying factors.”1 2 3 5 6
Gov. Ricketts said that some information about the death would not be shared with the public in order to protect the privacy of the deceased, but that further details may be made available upon completion of the CDC investigation.2 3
This case has reportedly been entered into the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The FDA states that, “VAERS accepts reports of adverse events that may be associated with U.S. licensed vaccines from health care providers, manufacturers, and the public.” Jointly operated by the FDA and CDC, VAERS was created by Congress under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 in response to growing public concern about the safety of whole cell pertussis vaccine in DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) and other childhood vaccines.1 2 5 7 8
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Click here to view References:
1 Associated Press. CDC Investigating Nebraska Man’s Death After Virus Vaccine. U.S. News & World Report Feb. 12, 2021.
2 Dvorak G. Ricketts shares details on Nebraska COVID-19 vaccine death investigation. 6 On Your Side Feb. 12, 2021.
3 KETV New Staff. Gov. Ricketts says Nebraska man died two weeks after receiving COVID-19 vaccine. KETV Omaha Feb. 12, 2021.
4 Miao H. CDC to investigate death of Nebraska man who received Covid vaccine dose. CNBC Feb. 12, 2021.
5 Parra X, Weite D. CDC investigating death of Nebraska man who received COVID-19 vaccine. KTIV Feb. 12, 2021.
6 Westhues K. CDC to investigate claim of COVID vaccine-related death in Nebraska. 6 On Your Side Feb. 11, 2021.
7 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VAERS Overview.
8 TVR Staff. Only One Percent of Vaccine Reactions Reported to VAERS. The Vaccine Reaction Jan. 9, 2020.