Pfizer says it is investigating the death of a Florida doctor who had received one dose of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also reportedly looking into the death of Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old obstetrician who had taken the shot 16 days earlier.
Pfizer said there is no evidence so far indicating Michael’s death was caused by the vaccine it developed with German biotech firm BioNTech.
Manhattan-based Pfizer called it a “highly 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 adverse events in individuals receiving our vaccine,” Pfizer spokesperson Jerica Pitts told The Post in a statement Wednesday. “It is important to note that serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine, are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population.”
The CDC is also aware of the death and “will evaluate the situation as more information becomes available,” agency spokesperson 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 got on Dec. 18.
“I believe that people should be aware that side effects can happened, that it is not good for everyone and in this case destroyed a beautiful life, a perfect family, and has affected so many people in the community,” Neckelmann said in the post, adding that her late husband was a “pro-vaccine advocate.”
Pfizer, however, does not believe there is a connection between the vaccine and the death based on its clinical trials of the shot and its “post-marketing experience thus far,” Pitts said.
Pfizer’s vaccine is one of two that US officials have cleared for emergency use as the nation struggles to control the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The other shot was developed by Massachusetts-based biotech firm Moderna.
The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Wednesday.