GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia’s state medical examiner is investigating after a Gloucester woman died shortly after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
A statement released Friday from State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver confirmed the death occurred within hours of the woman receiving the vaccine, although it did not state the day of her death. He also offered condolences to the family.
However, Oliver said the woman’s death being within hours of receiving the vaccine does not confirm they were related.
“We are currently investigating and do not yet know the cause of death,” said Oliver.
Additionally, preliminary findings indicate the cause of death was not anaphylaxis — a severe allergic reaction — but Oliver says it will take several weeks for additional information to become available.
He reiterated that Virginians should seriously consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As always, we strongly encourage Virginians to get the COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines are our best hope to end this pandemic and [are] very, very safe,” Oliver said.
“Most clinical trials for vaccines involve about 6,000 people—clinical trials for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines followed more than 70,000 people, including many people with chronic medical conditions,” he continued.
The CDC released a statement on the death that says they will continue to closely monitor the safety of all vaccines, and will actively be working with Virginia officials to fully investigate the situation.
The death was also reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national database managed by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Our thoughts are with the family during this heartbreaking time,” the CDC said.
The CDC added that, to date, 27 million people have received COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.