Federal health officials are investigating the case of a Michigan teenager who died days after he received a COVID-19 vaccine, Fox News reported Friday.
The 13-year-old boy died three days after getting a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the Saginaw County Health Department told the news agency in a statement. The department learned of the teenager’s death on June 17.
“The investigation as to whether there is a correlation between his death and vaccination is now at the federal level with [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the health department said. “Meanwhile, the health department continues to encourage families to speak with their physicians to weigh their own risks and benefits of vaccination.”
It is unknown whether the teenage boy had previous health problems. The news report did not specify whether the teenager received the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or the Moderna vaccine. The death has been supposedly reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national surveillance system.
Neither the CDC nor the Saginaw County Health Department immediately responded to requests for comment.
CDC officials say deaths following COVID-19 vaccinations have been rare. More than 318 million COVID-19 doses were administered in the U.S. from Dec. 14 through June 21, and about 5,400 deaths, or 0.0017%, among those vaccinated were reported to VAERS during that time.
“Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines,” the CDC says on its website.
However, there could be a “plausible causal relationship” between the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and a rare, serious blood clotting condition, which has caused deaths.
Health care providers are required by the Food and Drug Administration to report any death after a COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS.