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Emails Show Placer County Government Strife Over Sheriff's Decision to Announce Man's Death After COVID Vaccines

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) - Newly obtained emails show placer county officials clashing over the death of a man hours after he received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Internal emails show a tense exchange between Dr. Rob Oldham, the director of Placer County Health & Human Services, and the Placer County Sheriff's Office back in January. In one, Dr. Oldham pleads with the sheriff's office not to release a statement implying that a 64-year-old man died from the COVID-19 vaccine when his autopsy results were still pending.

Dr. Rob Oldham emailed Undersheriff Wayne Woo saying:

"We strongly believe it is premature to do any public messaging surrounding this death. We can see very little benefit to the public in doing so and substantial potential detriment.

"I think it would be better that we compromise with a joint statement, rather than PCSO issuing a statement HHS could not defend."

But emails show Sheriff Devon Bell disagreed and released a statement anyway. Just one week later, a second statement from the sheriff's office announced the man didn't die from the vaccine.

The sheriff's office didn't initially respond to our request for further comment, but Placer County Health and Human Services said it values its partnership with the sheriff's office and looks forward to continuing their work together.

One day after our original request for further comment, the Placer County Sheriff's Office released a statement saying: "It was made clear our investigation surrounding the death was ongoing and not yet complete. The sheriff's office has always strived to be transparent with the people it serves and will continue to hold that standard moving forward."

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