Orange County woman's death after 2nd dose of Moderna vaccine spurs concern from family

Jessica De Nova Image
Friday, April 30, 2021
OC woman's death after vaccination spurs concern from family
The Orange County Coroner's office is investigating the death of a woman who died just days after she received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Orange County Coroner's office is investigating the death of a woman who died just days after she received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

The family says the grandmother was healthy before she got her shot, and that her sudden death came as a shock.

A conversation with staff at the Orange County Coroner's office about Griselda Flores' death, raised red flags for her son Richard Cardenas and the family.

"They made it seem like this was not the first call that they had," Cardenas said.

Assistant Chief Deputy Coroner Brad Olsen says that's right.

Olsen told Eyewitness News a handful of deaths, including Flores', are under investigation because they happened one to three days after the person got a COVID-19 vaccine dose.

RELATED: Researchers studying 'breakthrough' COVID-19 cases of infection after vaccination

Researchers are studying rare cases of people getting infected even after getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

"That means our doctors want to run some additional studies, whether it be toxicology, micros or just a review of medical records to see their treatment course, and look for those other underlying conditions," Olsen said.

"But we haven't come to the conclusion yet that the vaccine had anything directly to do with the causes of death," he added.

Cardenas says his mom was a healthy, outgoing, hard-working mother and grandmother.

The day after her second shot on April 14 at a CVS store in Orange, Flores complained of the expected side effects, such as chills, body aches and a fever.

"She looked really pale though, and she just said she was tired, and she was going to go home and sleep," Cardenas recalled.

Two days after her second dose, Flores' family says they found her dead in her room.

"I'm very, very worried about public safety because now, it's just like, if my mom passed away, how many other people are going to pass away?" Cardenas said.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that in the U.S., there were less than two deaths per 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines administered. Death investigations didn't find vaccinations contributed to patient deaths.

A person has a higher likelihood of dying if they contract the COVID-19 virus, according to California Department of Public Health numbers - 1,660 deaths per 100,000 cases.

Olsen says the deaths pending investigation date back to January and the decedents, both male and female, received either the Moderna or Pfizer shot.

The results of further studies may come three months after death, maybe longer.

"If our doctors recognize something, anywhere, during the death investigation process that would lead to a public health or public safety concern, we would immediately raise those alarms through our Orange County health care partners," Olsen said.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help pay for Flores' funeral services.