The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner is investigating the death of a doctor weeks after he received a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Darren Caprara, director of operations at the medical examiner’s office.
Caprara said his office is working with the Florida Department of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the death of Dr. Gregory Michael. His death has not definitively been linked to the vaccine, but that is among the possibilities being explored, Caprara added.
According to Michael’s website, he was an obstetrician/gynecologist “in private practice at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach for the last 15 years.” He was 56, according to public records.
Caprara said Michael received a vaccine around December 19 and died “late January 3rd into the 4th.” An autopsy was conducted Tuesday, Caprara said, with cause of death pending the completion of studies by the medical examiner and partner agencies.
He did not disclose which vaccine Michael received; however, only Pfizer’s had been offered outside of clinical trials the week Michael was vaccinated.
“Pfizer and BioNTech are aware of the death of a healthcare professional sixteen days after receiving a first dose” of the vaccine, Pfizer said in a statement. “It is a highly unusual clinical case of severe thrombocytopenia, a condition that decreases the body’s ability to clot blood and stop internal bleeding,” it added.
“We are actively investigating this case, but we don’t believe at this time that there is any direct connection to the vaccine,” the company said in the statement.
“There have been no related safety signals identified in our clinical trials, the post-marketing experience thus far or with the mRNA vaccine platform. To date, millions of people have been vaccinated and we are closely monitoring all adverse events in individuals receiving our vaccine. 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.”
CDC officials told reporters Wednesday it had not seen any worrying severe reactions to coronavirus vaccines beyond 29 cases of severe allergic reactions — or just 11.1 cases of anaphylaxis per 1 million doses administered.
“The known and potential benefits of the current COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the known and potential risks, getting COVID-19,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “That doesn’t mean, however, that we couldn’t see potential serious health events in the future.”
According to the CDC, more than 5.3 million people have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the US.
“Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved family,” Pfizer added.
CNN has asked CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration for comment.
Mount Sinai Medical Center said in a statement that, due to medical privacy laws, it “cannot confirm or deny information about any patient. To the extent that we are aware of an incident involving any patient, the appropriate agencies are contacted immediately and have our full cooperation.”