Man in Nebraska Dies Less Than Two Weeks After Getting COVID-19


A man in his 40s died on Jan. 17, 2021 in Nebraska 10 to 14 days after receiving the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The man, whose name has not been released to the public, lived in a long-term care facility and reportedly had several underlying health conditions. According to news reports, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated it would investigate the case after “local health officials listed the COVID-19 vaccine as one of several causes of death.”1 2 3 4 5 6

It is unclear which one of the experimental COVID-19 vaccines, which are being distributed under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the man had been given. At the time of his death, only two vaccines had been granted EUAs by the FDA—Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine and Pfizer/BioNTech’s BNT162b2.6

Vaccine Listed as One of the Causes of Death on Death Certificate

In a press conference held on Feb. 12, Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts confirmed the CDC’s plans to investigate the case and determine how the vaccine may have played a role in the man’s death.3 5 Gov. Ricketts said:

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.3 5

Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts

“Typically, COVID-19 vaccine deaths can be attributed to anaphylaxis and occur within a relatively short period after the vaccine is given, which is why monitoring is done,” said Gary Anthone, MD, chief medical officer for Nebraska. “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.”1 2 3 5 6

Gov. Ricketts said that some information about the death would not be shared with the public in order to protect the privacy of the deceased, but that further details may be made available upon completion of the CDC investigation.2 3

This case has reportedly been entered into the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The FDA states that, “VAERS accepts reports of adverse events that may be associated with U.S. licensed vaccines from health care providers, manufacturers, and the public.” Jointly operated by the FDA and CDC, VAERS was created by Congress under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 in response to growing public concern about the safety of whole cell pertussis vaccine in DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) and other childhood vaccines.1 2 5 7 8

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  BioNTechBNT162b2CDCCenters for Disease Control and PreventionCOVID-19diphtheria-pertussis-tetanusDPTEmergency Use AuthorizationEUAFDAFood and Drug AdministrationGary AnthoneMarco CáceresModernamRNA-1273National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986National Vaccine Information CenterNebraskaNebraska Department of Health and Human ServicesNVICPete RickettsPfizerThe Vaccine ReactionVaccine Adverse Event Reporting SystemVAERS