Two weeks after getting a first dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, a 56-year-old doctor in South Florida died this week, possibly the nation’s first death linked to the vaccine.
Health officials from Florida and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating what role, if any, the vaccine played in the death of Dr. Gregory Michael, a Miami-Beach obstetrician who, his family says, was in otherwise good health.
Michael received his first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 18 at Mount Sinai Medical Center, according to a Facebook post from his wife, Heidi Neckelmann.
Three days later, small spots began to appear on his feet and hands and he went to the emergency room at Mount Sinai, where he has worked in private practice for 15 years, according to his personal website.
His blood count was far below normal ranges, according to Neckelmann, and he was admitted to the intensive care unit.
For two weeks, she said, doctors tried to raise Michael’s platelet count. “Experts from all over the country were involved in his care,” she wrote. “No matter what they did, the platelets count refused to go up.”
She wrote that Michael was “conscious and energetic” through the process. But just days before a last resort surgery, he suffered a stroke and died.
Neckelmann did not respond to calls and emails Thursday seeking comment.
Darren Caprara, director of operations at the Miami-Dade medical examiner’s office, said Michael died sometime between the night of Jan. 3 and the early morning of Jan. 4.