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Agencies Investigating Cause Of Death Of Person Who Died Hours After Receiving Vaccine, Placer Sheriff Says

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) – Multiple agencies are investigating the cause of death of an individual who died Thursday, hours after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine - the Placer County Sheriff's Office announced on Saturday.

The sheriff's office said in a Facebook post that the individual tested positive for the virus in late December.

"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."

News of a death hours after the vaccine prompted question and concern from some Californians like Britni Tucker.

"I'm really relying on the vaccine to cure this pandemic. Because I have a 9-month old daughter I'm trying to protect," Tucker said. "Now I think it's something I should definitely put more research into."

Others, like Eric Parra of Auburn, say they never planned to get it in the first place.

"This was rushed just so fast," Parra said. "I'm not getting it myself only until I can see it works after some time."

CBS13 spoke with infectious disease expert Dr. Dean Blumberg from UC Davis, to ask some general questions about the safety measures about the vaccine, as he is unfamiliar with this particular case.

"All the health care professionals are making sure to report any concerning adverse events following immunization, even if it's not related – just to pick up any kind of signal," Dr. Blumberg said.

He says the COVID-19 vaccine isn't a shot in the dark. He said there have no been increased deaths due to vaccines, and thousands of study subjects were looked at prior to each vaccine's approval.  He also says after a vaccine, anything can happen. The cause of death is still too early to tell.

"They might have other things that are basically random," he said.

CBS13 also asked Dr. Blumberg - if a person wants to get vaccinated after testing positive for COVID-19, how long should they wait? He said as long as the individual is no longer infectious and feels well, there isn't a time limit.

Further details regarding the person's death were not released, but the sheriff's office said local, state and federal agencies are on the investigation.

Earlier in the week, a batch of Moderna vaccines were pulled from use in the state, after some people felt sick after receiving the vaccine. That batch has since been cleared for approval and returned to use. It's unclear which vaccine was used in this particular Placer County case.

According to the sheriff's office, the Placer County Coroner's Office will be conducting an autopsy by Monday.

CBS13 reached out to the California Department of Public Health, but only received a statement that read:

"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. We are working collaboratively and will continue to use data and science to determine how to proceed."

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