Pfizer says it is investigating the death of a Florida doctor who had received a dose of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reportedly is also investigating the death of Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old obstetrician who had taken the shot 16 days earlier.
Pfizer said so far there is no evidence that Michael’s death was caused by the vaccine it developed with German biotech company BioNTech.
Manhattan-based Pfizer called it a “very unusual clinical case” of a condition called severe thrombocytopenia, which limits the body’s ability to clot blood and stop internal bleeding.
“To date, millions of people have been vaccinated and we are closely monitoring all side effects in people receiving our vaccine,”
The CDC is also aware of the death and “will evaluate the situation as more information becomes available,” agency spokesman Tom Skinner told Bloomberg News.
Michael’s wife, Heidi Neckelmann, said in a Facebook post that her husband died of a stroke after spending two weeks in a Miami Beach hospital. She attributed his death to a “strong reaction to the COVID vaccine”, which she said he received on December 18.
“I think people need to be aware that side effects can happen, that it is not good for everyone and in this case ruined a beautiful life, a perfect family and has affected so many people in society,” Neckelmann said in the post and added that her late husband was a “vaccine lawyer.”
However, Pfizer does not believe there is a link between the vaccine and death based on its clinical trial with the shot and its “post-marketing experience so far,” Pitts said.
Pfizer’s vaccine is one of two that U.S. officials have cleared for emergency use as the nation struggles to control the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The second shot was developed by Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna.
The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Wednesday.