An Orange County health care worker has died days after receiving his second dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, it was reported Tuesday.
The coroner has said the cause of death is inconclusive for now, and further toxicology testing will take months.
Tim Zook, 60, worked as an X-ray technologist at South Coast Global Medical Center in Santa Ana.
On January 5, Zook posted a photo of his COVID-19 vaccination card with the caption, “Never been so excited to get a shot before. I am now fully vaccinated after receiving my 2nd Pfizer dose.”
Just two hours after receiving his second dose he started experiencing abdominal pain and breathing difficulties. His health spiraled downward and he died four days later.
“The doctors believe that his body reacted to something after he took the vaccine and they called it an inflammatory reaction,” said his wife of 27 years, Rochelle. “It was so intense that it started attacking major organs and he never had a chance to recover.”
His family said he had high blood pressure and was slightly overweight, but other than that, he was quite healthy.
Zook’s wife said her husband was a proponent of the vaccine and that she does not blame any pharmaceutical company.
“He believed in vaccines. I’m sure he would take that vaccine again, and he’d want the public to take it,” she said.
“The message is: Take the vaccine because it is far more greater to die from COVID than to die from a result of a vaccine,” said Rochelle.
Zook’s death has been reported to the national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, run by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control. The Orange County coroner’s office told FOX 11 that if there is any correlation between his death and the vaccine, it will notify the OC Health Care Agency.
“We need to continue the investigations and see what this gentleman passed away from,” said Dr. Nathan Newman, the lead physician at Santa Monica Urgent Care.
He’s taken both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and says serious problems are extremely rare.
“People are worried, they’re afraid but I think they should be reassured that studies were done with tens of thousands of people — very few serious reactions occurred and the benefit of receiving the vaccination far outweighs any of the risks that were seeing,” said Newman.
This past weekend, health officials in Placer County reported that a person died hours after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, though they did not specify which vaccine the person received.
The individual had tested positive for COVID-19 in late December and was administered a COVID-19 vaccine several hours before their death on Jan. 21, 2021.
“There are multiple local, state, and federal agencies actively investigating this case; any reports surrounding the cause of death are premature, pending the outcome of the investigation,” the Placer County Sheriff-Coroner Division said in a statement.
The CDC has released information after learning of severe allergic reactions in some cases to the COVID-19 vaccine, and recommends if a person has ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine,” then they “should not get that specific vaccine.”
This does not mean that everyone with bad allergies is barred from getting it.
“CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as allergies to food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex—may still get vaccinated,” the CDC writes on its website.
“People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions, or who might have a milder [sic] allergy to vaccines (no anaphylaxis)—may also still get vaccinated.”