Story at a glance

  • Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old OB-GYN at Miami’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, received the vaccine on Dec. 18 and died 16 days later after developing a rare blood disorder.
  • Michael’s wife, Heidi Neckelmann, said in a Facebook post that her husband died of a stroke after spending two weeks in the hospital and attributed his death to a “strong reaction to the COVID vaccine.”
  • “We are actively investigating this case, but the evidence so far does not suggest a causal association to the vaccine, based on the clinical trials, post-marketing experience thus far, or with the mRNA vaccine platform” a Pfizer spokesperson told Changing America.

Pfizer and health authorities are investigating the case of a Florida doctor who died from a severe blood disorder after he was given the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old OB-GYN at Miami’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, received the vaccine on Dec. 18 and died 16 days later after developing the rare blood disorder thrombocytopenia — a condition that decreases the body’s ability to clot blood and stop internal bleeding.   


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Michael’s wife, Heidi Neckelmann, said in a Facebook post that her husband died of a stroke after spending two weeks in the hospital and attributed his death to a “strong reaction to the COVID vaccine.” Neckelmann said her husband was a“very healthy 56 year old.” 

“I believe that people should be aware that side effects can happened, that it is not good for everyone and in this case destroyed a beautiful life, a perfect family, and has affected so many people in the community,” Neckelmann wrote in the post. 

Pfizer, however, says there is no evidence at this time to suggest there’s a connection to Michael’s death and the COVID-19 vaccine, citing its clinical trials and data gathered since the shot was authorized in the U.S. 

“We are actively investigating this case, but the evidence so far does not suggest a causal association to the vaccine, based on the clinical trials, post-marketing experience thus far, or with the mRNA vaccine platform,” a Pfizer spokesperson told Changing America.

“To date, millions of people have been vaccinated and we are closely monitoring all adverse events in individuals receiving our vaccine. It is important to note 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,” Pfizer said.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health are also investigating the incident. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is one of two that has received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration. 

As of Wednesday, more than 9 million Americans have received the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, according to the CDC. Health officials have confirmed at least 29 cases of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, following vaccination, but none have been fatal. 


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Published on Jan 13, 2021