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Pfizer calls doctor's death an 'unusual clinical case,' does not suspect link to vaccine

Gregory Michael died after taking the COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook)
Gregory Michael died after taking the COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook)
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Health officials from the Center for Disease Control are now investigating after a 56-year-old Miami area doctor passed away weeks after taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Officials say Dr. Gregory Michael took his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in mid December, and died 16 days later.

A spokesperson for Pfizer tells CBS12 News that the doctor's death was "a highly unusual clinical case of severe thrombocytopenia, a condition that decreases the body’s ability to clot blood and stop internal bleeding."

His wife, Heidi Neckelmann, posted on Facebook that Dr. Michael's platelet count dropped dramatically just days after taking the first dose of the vaccine, and weeks later, he died of a stroke. She says it was "caused by a reaction to the COVID vaccine," but reps for the pharmaceutical corporation are not convinced.

In a statement sent to CBS12 News, a spokesperson writes, "We are actively investigating this case, but we don’t believe at this time that there is any direct connection to the vaccine. There have been no related safety signals identified in our clinical trials, the post-marketing experience thus far or with the mRNA vaccine platform."

The statement goes on to say that millions of people have received the Pfizer vaccine, and that "serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population."


David Scott, the CEO of the Palm Beach Research Center, works with and studies similar mRNA vaccines. Scott tells CBS12 News that the shot has "passed every milestone for safety," and he believes vaccines like the Pfizer one to be incredibly safe.

He says long-term side effects of the available COVID-19 vaccines cannot yet be known, but in the short-term, allergic reactions can be among the reported side effects, and he recommends patients being very forthcoming with healthcare providers before taking any shot.

"Because we have millions of people calling and going to places that are issuing vaccines, it can be really difficult to make sure that someone is the absolute best candidate," Scott told CBS12. "So the best advice that we can give to the public is if you think you’re eligible to get the vaccine, make sure you know your history of allergies and explain that to the provider who will help you get injected."

The CDC confirmed to CBS12 News that the agency is investigating Dr. Michael's death.

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