In December, a Florida physician died of severe idiopathic thrombocytopenia (ITP). Since then, there have been additional cases of ITP reported after mRNA vaccine administration and investigators are trying to understand any relationship with the vaccine. The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine has been associated with thrombocytopenia in children, but it is rare, transient, and generally treatable. It will be important to continue to gather information.
According to the most recent data, over 52 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through February 14, 2021. During this time, Vaccine Adverse Event Report System (VAERS) received 934 reports of death* (0.0018%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. CDC and FDA physicians review each case report of death as soon as notified and CDC requests medical records to further assess reports. A review of available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records findings revealed no link with vaccination. CDC and FDA will continue to investigate reports of adverse events, including deaths, reported to VAERS.
There have been cases of deaths after vaccine administration in other countries such as Norway, Israel, and Germany. These deaths were all in older individuals with serious underlying illnesses. Currently there is no direct link between these deaths and the vaccine, but they are being investigated.
When conducting mass vaccination campaigns, it is important to remember that adverse events and deaths will occur in the context of vaccination even if they are not caused by vaccine. This is expected. And, even if these above deaths are vaccine-related, they are still exceedingly rare and much rarer than the chances of death with COVID itself.
Updated: March 1, 2021