In mid-June, 13-year-old Jacob Clynick from Michigan died in his sleep three days after receiving his second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently investigating the incident.
In an email statement to Washington Examiner, Jade Fulce, public affairs specialist at the CDC, said that the agency is aware of the incident and that it would be “premature to assign a specific cause of death” until the investigation into the matter is complete. He admitted that some adverse events “may be caused by vaccination.”
“When a serious adverse event, like death, is reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after COVID-19 vaccination, CDC requests and reviews all medical records associated with the case, including death certificates, and autopsy reports. The determination of the cause of death is done by the certifying official who completes the death certificate or the pathologist who conducts the autopsy,” Fulce stated.
Jacob had just completed eighth grade when he got the second dose on June 13th. According to his aunt, Tammy Burages, the boy had no underlying medical conditions and was healthy. In the two days after the jab, he complained of common post-vaccine symptoms such as fever and fatigue. On June 15th, Jacob complained of a stomachache at night. While he was able to return back to sleep, he never woke up again.
According to preliminary autopsy findings, fluid was found around Jacob’s heart, which was enlarged at the time of death. The contracted medical examiner of Saginaw County, the Michigan Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, did not state Jacob’s cause of death. Randy Pfau, director of operations for the institute, said to Detroit Free Press that the matter is an “ongoing investigation” and that it could take “three to five months to complete.”
On June 26th, Jacob’s family held a funeral for him. Burages hopes that federal investigators conducting the autopsy investigation will uncover clues to his cause of death.
“This is one of those things that I suspect they’re never going to really be able to say, ‘Oh, it was shot’ or ‘It wasn’t shot’… There must be something that makes certain kids more susceptible to having a serious heart reaction, and I think Jacob was one of those kids. So whatever that serious thing was, whatever the underlying health issue was, is something maybe that the autopsy will tell us,” Burages said to the media outlet.
In a June 23rd CDC meeting, deputy director of the agency’s Immunization Safety Office had revealed that the rate of heart inflammation among 12 to 39-year-olds, three weeks after the second dose, was 12.6 cases per million. 1,226 incidents of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, inflammation of the tissues surrounding the heart, were reported as of June 11, with the majority of cases involving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
With regard to Jacob’s death, Pfizer said that its “immediate thoughts are with the family” and that every vaccine has side effects. The company insisted that its vaccines are “rigorously tested” to ensure side effects are “manageable” and the benefits outweigh the risks.
“We take adverse events that are potentially associated with our COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2, very seriously. To date, more than 400 million people around the world have been vaccinated with our vaccine,” Jerica Pitts, director for global media relations for Pfizer, said to the Washington Examiner.
Doctors oppose vaccinating children
On May 20th, America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, seeking to invoke a temporary restraining order against using COVID-19 vaccines on children under the age of 16. The vaccines are under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and have not been approved by the FDA.
Dr. Simone Gold, founder of AFLDS, said in a statement that the COVID-19 vaccines are “not a vaccine” but an “experimental biological agent.” She said that her organization will not support using American children “as guinea pigs,” and pointed out that only 104 children in the age group between 0 and 17 years old have died from COVID-19 out of a population of 72 million.
Back in April, a group of 93 Israeli doctors wrote a letter asking that COVID-19 vaccines not be administered to children. Children must not be endangered “through mass vaccination against a disease that is not dangerous to them.” The letter also warned that the vaccines could result in “long-term adverse effects that have not yet been discovered at this time, including on growth, reproductive system or fertility.”
In the UK, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is considering allowing COVID-19 vaccines to be given to children aged 12 and older. According to a Sky News report, only 25 children and young people died in England during the first year of the pandemic, accounting for just 0.005% of the people infected with the virus.
“This data would suggest you have to have a very low risk of the vaccine to justify giving it to all healthy children,” Dr. Elizabeth Whittaker, a researcher and consultant in pediatric infectious diseases at Imperial College London, said to the media outlet.
With reporting by Prakash Gogoi.