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CDC investigating death of Nebraska man who received COVID-19 vaccine

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COVID-19 vaccine

LINCOLN, Nebraska (KTIV) - Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a death in the state that may have been caused by the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ricketts said the victim is a 40-year-old man from Nebraska, who lived in a long-term care facility and had multiple underlying conditions.

The governor said typically when there is a death due to a vaccine, it happens right away. And typically it's because of a severe allergic reaction, which is why COVID-19 vaccination clinics make you wait 15 minutes after getting the vaccine.

But the death occurred on Jan. 17, which is one to two weeks after he received his first dose.

"It's not clear that this person died because of the vaccine. It was listed as one of the causes in the death certificate. That's why we do the investigation. And the fact that it happened one to two weeks after the person received the vaccine means there was not a severe allergic reaction at the time the person received the vaccine," said Gov. Pete Ricketts, (R) Nebraska.

Ricketts says so far, 165,000 Nebraska residents have been vaccinated. This possible vaccine-related death investigation is the first. He says he wants to assure residents they are constantly monitoring vaccines to ensure these things don't happen.

“Residents of long-term care facilities have been made a high priority in the State to receive vaccinations, due to higher mortality rates in this medically frail population," said Dr. Gary Anthone, Nebraska's chief medical officer.

The death has been entered into the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national vaccine safety surveillance program run by the CDC and the FDA. Officials say any death reported into VAERS is fully reviewed.

"We have confidence in the safety of the vaccine and understand that there may be questions about a situation such as this," said Anthone. "While I cannot speculate on this case, when individuals die days or weeks after the vaccine has been administered, it is more likely due to other underlying factors." 

Anthone said individuals with high-risk conditions should consult their medical provider about the best approach when it comes to vaccinations.

From Dec. 14 to Feb. 7, the CDC and FDA have received 1,170 reports of death among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. That's about 0.003% of the over 41 million people who have been vaccinated so far, according to the CDC.

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