The Placer County Sheriff’s Office, state and federal agencies are investigating after a resident passed away shortly after receiving a coronavirus vaccine, local media including CBS13 and KTLA5 have reported.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the sheriff’s office indicated that the individual in question, who died Thursday, had tested positive for COVID-19 in late December, and had been “administered a COVID-19 vaccine several hours before their death”.
The sheriff’s office stressed that “any reports surrounding the cause of death are premature, pending the outcome of the investigation,” and did not provide any further information, such as the deceased person’s age, medical condition, or which of the two vaccines authorised for use in California was used.
The California Department of Health told KTXL that it takes “these instances seriously,” and that it was “working with our government partners to investigate the cause,” and promised to “continue to use data and science to determine how to proceed”.
Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief White House COVID-19 medical advisor, advised people already confirmed to have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 not to get vaccinated within three months of getting the virus. His recommendations have been challenged by other officials, who have said that people can be vaccinated as soon as a vaccine becomes available.
Local residents told CBS Sacramento that the Placer County person’s death has left them apprehensive about getting vaccinated.
“I’m really relying on the vaccine to cure this pandemic. Because I have a 9-month old daughter I’m trying to protect. Now I think it’s something I should definitely put more research into,” California mom Britni Tucker said. Auburn resident Eric Parra told the CBS affiliate he never planned to get vaccinated early on. “This was rushed just so fast. I’m not getting it myself only until I can see it works after some time,” he said.
The state gave vaccine providers the green light to resume vaccinations using the batch on Thursday, saying a review had shown the vaccines to be “safe and effective.”
As of Saturday, over 41.4 million vaccine doses have been distributed across the US, and 20.5 million administered, with California among the national leaders by volume, with 5 million doses distributed and 2 million administered. The West Coast state has been among the worst hit by the pandemic, with Johns Hopkins University statistics indicating a daily average of 423 deaths over the past month, with over 36,000 COVID-19 related deaths reported in total since the pandemic began last year.