As the healthcare authorities in the U.S. have begun to administer COVID-19 vaccines, some unusual post-inoculation cases are making the experts confused. On Saturday, Feb. 13, health officials said that an elderly woman from California died after getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shot.
Dr. Michael Morris, director of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California's vaccination program, said in a statement that the 78-year-old woman began complaining about discomfort after she received a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Friday, Feb. 12. Paramedics tried to revive her by performing CPR but were unsuccessful, he said. According to reports, the woman lost consciousness while being treated by the healthcare professionals.
What Killed Her?
As per the health officials, there were no signs or symptoms that the elderly woman had a severe allergic reaction to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. recommends that if a person develops an allergic reaction after getting the first vaccine, they should not take a second dose.
However, as of now, the exact cause of her death is still a mystery. But her family members said that she had a history of heart disease. Despite the tragic incident, her husband, who also received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, said that he will take the second jab in a few weeks.
Dr. Antonio Abbate, a heart specialist with the VCU Health Pauley Heart Center in Virginia, explained that the COVID-19 vaccines, including the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, are safe and essential for people with a history of heart disease, as this group of people is at the risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19.
The American Heart Association released a statement in which it said: "People with cardiovascular risk factors, heart disease, and heart attack and stroke survivors should get vaccinated as soon as possible because they are at much greater risk from the virus than they are from the vaccine."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that the most commonly reported side effects of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. But these issues last only for a few days.
Dr. Abbate said: "The most common side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are pain and bruising at the site of the injection, and in some cases feeling tired or achy. You may also run a low-grade fever. As a heart patient, your symptoms are no different than those of everyone else. Symptoms generally last less than two days."