Though no clear link has been found to the coronavirus vaccine, multiple agencies are investigating the cause of death of a person who died Thursday, hours after receiving his shot, Placer County officials announced on Saturday.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that the individual tested positive for the virus in late December, KTLA’s sister station KTXL in Sacramento reported.
“The individual was administered a COVID-19 vaccine several hours before their death on January 21, 2021,” the agency wrote. “The vaccine was not administered by Placer County Public Health.”
Officials did not elaborate on where the patient received the shot and which vaccine was used in this particular case.
“There are multiple local, state, and federal agencies actively investigating this case,” the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said. “Any reports surrounding the cause of death are premature, pending the outcome of the investigation.”
The California Department of Public Health says it’s still looking into the cause of death.
“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,” the health agency said in a statement. “We are working collaboratively and will continue to use data and science to determine how to proceed.”
Dr. Dean Blumberg, an infectious disease expert at UC Davis Children’s hospital, said people should not be too quick to place blame and it’s likely not related to the vaccine.
“Many people are going to make the connection with the vaccine because of the timing,” he said.
Blumberg told KTXL that his “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,” he said.
Blumberg said that if it happened several hours later, it is “probably not the severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, that we worry about.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, recommends that people should not get vaccinated within 90 days after the initial infection.
Blumberg said people who tested positive for the coronavirus were included as participants in the vaccine trials and did not show any increased risk of mortality.
“That’s why we do these large studies to look for any of those kinds of signals,” Blumberg said. “And in the studies, we didn’t see any signal that showed that people who are vaccinated were more likely to die. I think the odds are that it was more likely due to chance.”
Blumberg says there are still many questions that need to be answered regarding the incident.