A California resident who tested positive for COVID-19 in late December died last week several hours after receiving a shot of the vaccine, officials have announced.
The individual, who has not been named, reportedly died in Placer County, in the greater Sacramento area, on Thursday.
Their death was announced by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office in a Saturday Facebook post, with the department adding that the incident remains under investigation.
‘The individual was administered a COVID-19 vaccine several hour before their death on January 21, 2021,’ the agency wrote. ‘The vaccine was not administered by Placer County Public Health.’
It’s unclear if the person was given the Moderna of Pfizer vaccine.
‘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. Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased,’ the sheriff’s office continued.
Officials with the Placer County Coroner’s Office will be conducting an autopsy on Monday to determine the person’s specific cause of death.
No further details were shared by authorities.
In a statement, the California Department of Health said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased. 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.’
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring reports of allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, but health officials say the risk of a severe reaction is ‘exceedingly rare.’
Last week, California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica S. Pan recommended that providers halt the administration of one batch of the Moderna vaccine ‘out of an extreme abundance of caution’ after it caused an allergic reaction in less than ten people.
‘While no vaccine or medical procedure is without risk, the risk of a serious adverse reaction is very small,’ the California Department of Health wrote.
‘While less data exists on adverse reactions related to the Moderna vaccine, a similar vaccine shows that the expected rate of anaphylaxis is approximately 1 in 100,000.’
The vaccines are known to have some side effects, which include tiredness, headache, chills, and a fever, but these are ‘normal signs your body is building protection’ and should go away in a few days, the CDC said.
Speaking to the death of the person in Placer County, Dr. Dean Blumberg, an infectious disease expert at UC Davis Children’s hospital, told KTLA people should not be too quick to place blame.
‘Many people are going to make the connection with the vaccine because of the timing,’ he said. ‘[My] first inclination is that it’s probably not related to the vaccine.
‘We know that the severe allergic reactions that occur following immunization, the vast majority of those occur 15-30 minutes following immunization,’ Blumberg said.
He added that if the death occurred several hours after receiving the vaccine it’s ‘probably not the severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, that we worry about.’
The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, recommends that people who have tested positive for the virus should not get tested until at least 90 days after their date of initial infection.
As of Sunday morning, 41,411,550 vaccine doses have been distributed and 20,537,990 have been administered nationwide. In total, just over three million people are fully vaccinated, having received both doses of the shot.
In California, nearly 5 million doses have been distributed and 2,008,220 have been administered.
While vaccination efforts are well underway, the state continues to be ravaged by the virus.
In the last month, around 423 Californians have died from the coronavirus each day, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.
The state has recorded 36,405 deaths and more than 3.1 million cases since the pandemic first began in March.
Across the entirety of the US, 24,995,420 cases of the virus have been reported, and 414,441 Americans have died.