Florida doctor dies after receiving COVID-19 vaccine under investigation



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A Florida doctor has died weeks after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, although it is not yet clear whether his death on Monday was linked to the vaccine he received on December 18.

Dr Gregory Michael, 56, OB-GYN at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, has died of a hemorrhagic stroke apparently resulting from a lack of platelets.

Miami medical examiners are investigating his death, the Florida Department of Health said in a statement.

“The CDC and FDA are responsible for reviewing data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and presenting that information for federal recommendations on vaccine administration,” communications director Jason Mahon said in an email. “The state will continue to provide all available information to the CDC while it conducts this investigation.”

In a Facebook post, Michael’s wife Heidi Neckelmann said he sought emergency care three days after the shooting because he had spots on his skin that indicated internal bleeding.

The condition that she says led to her stroke, called thrombocytopenia, results from a lower than normal number of platelets, which help the blood to clot.

In extremely rare cases, the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine has been linked to thrombocytopenia in young children, according to a 2003 study. The condition can also be caused by cancer, anemia, drinking. excessive alcohol, viruses, certain genetic conditions, toxic chemicals and drugs such as diuretics and the rarely used antibiotic chloramphenicol.

Pfizer, which along with its partner BioNTech made the vaccine the man received, said in a statement it was aware of the death.

“We are actively investigating this case, but at this time we do not believe there is a direct link to the vaccine,” the statement said.

There is no indication – either from large-scale clinical trials or among people who have received the vaccine since the government authorized its use last month – that it could be linked to thrombocytopenia. , the company said.

Manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines are required by the government to monitor health issues that arise near the time of vaccination and determine if they are likely to be related to a vaccine.

“It is important to note that serious adverse events, including deaths that are not related to the vaccine, are unfortunately likely to occur at a rate similar to that of the general population,” according to the statement, which concluded in saying, “Our immediate action thoughts are with the bereaved family.”

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement Wednesday evening that it and other federal agencies regularly review vaccine safety data, as does an independent committee of vaccine safety experts. .

“It has been a difficult year as each of us grapples with a global pandemic,” the statement said.

Five million people have already been vaccinated against COVID-19. “The use of COVID-19 vaccines is the next step in our efforts to protect Americans and reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

In his Facebook post, Neckelmann described Michael as “the love of his life” and blamed his death on the vaccine.

“He was a very healthy 56-year-old man, loved by everyone in the community, delivered hundreds of healthy babies and worked tirelessly during the pandemic,” she said in the message, which had received more than 1,400 comments Wednesday at 8 pm. .

She said a team of doctors across the country had tried for two weeks to increase her platelet count “to no avail”. He was conscious until he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke “which claimed his life in minutes,” she writes.

Michael was a vaccine advocate, his wife said, before raising doubts about his safety.

“I think people need to be aware that side effects can occur, that it is not good for everyone and in this case it destroyed a beautiful life, a perfect family and affected so many people in the community, ”she wrote. “Don’t let his death be in vain, please save more lives by doing this information.”

According to his professional website, Michael was a Miami native who practiced at Mount Sinai for 12 years.

After college, he lived in Japan for several years, traveling a lot and learning the language. He was also fluent in Spanish.

Michael attended St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada and completed his OB-GYN residency at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey.

He and his wife have a daughter, and he was an avid tournament and big game fisherman as well as a certified rescue diver.

Elizabeth Weise contributed to this report.

Contact Karen Weintraub at [email protected]

Patient health and safety coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial contributions.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Florida doctor dies from COVID-19 vaccine under investigation

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