Death of Northern California man several hours after COVID-19 vaccine probed

A Northern California man died Thursday several hours after receiving a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Placer County Public Health and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

The man previously tested positive for the coronavirus in late December.

“There are multiple local, state, and federal agencies actively investigating this case; any reports surrounding the cause of death are premature, pending the outcome of the investigation,” a statement from the sheriff’s office said. “Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased.”

Placer County Public Health and Human Services did not administer the vaccine and could not comment on whether the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine was given.

“We do not have any additional information to provide at this time,” Dr. Rob Oldham, director of the department, wrote in an email.

Dr. Dean Blumberg, an infectious disease expert at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, told KTXL-TV that people should wait for the completion of the investigation before blaming the vaccine for the death.

“My first inclination is that it’s probably not related to the vaccine,” Blumberg told the Sacramento TV station. “We know that the severe allergic reactions that occur following immunization, the vast majority of those occur 15-30 minutes following immunization.”

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly commented on the incident in a Monday press conference.

“We are looking at this very closely and still standing behind overwhelming evidence these vaccines are safe,” Ghaly said. “Overwhelmingly, we’re seeing people receive both the Pfzier and Moderna vaccines without complications. These are safe vaccines. We’re watching them successfully administered across the nation, across the globe.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals who have already had COVID and fully recovered still get vaccinated.

“At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person,” according to the CDC. “Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.”