• Zook died after receiving a second dose of Pfizer's vaccine
  • Doctors placed the 60-year-old in a medically induced coma two days after he received the shot
  • Zook died four days later after going "code blue" thrice

A health care worker in Orange County, Calif., died days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine.

Tim Zook, 60, experienced an adverse reaction to the vaccine hours after receiving it on Jan. 5. He was reportedly brought to an emergency room after suffering a severe upset stomach and experiencing breathing problems.

Doctors at the hospital put Zook on oxygen and a BiPAP machine. He also was tested for the coronavirus, but the results came back negative.

On Jan. 7, shortly after midnight, doctors placed the 60-year-old in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator to help him breathe. He was later transferred to the UC Irvine Medical Center when his blood pressure dropped.

“On Friday I get a call, ‘His kidneys are failing. He needs to be on dialysis. If not, he could die — but there’s also a chance he might have a heart attack or stroke on dialysis because his blood pressure is so low,’ ” Rochelle Zook, his wife, told The Orange County Register.

In the early hours of Jan. 9, Zook had gone code blue twice. He went code blue again in the afternoon. Code blue indicates a medical emergency, such as cardiac arrest.

“They said if he went code blue a fourth time, he’d have brain damage and be a vegetable if he survives,” Rochelle said. Tim died later that day.

Tim Zook was an X-ray technologist at South Coast Global Medical Center in Santa Ana. He was also a supporter of the vaccines.

Rochelle Zook, who she shared the tragic story with The Orange County Register, believes more research needs to be done in cases of severe or fatal reactions to the vaccines. However, she said she does not blame any pharmaceutical company and continues to encourage inoculation.

“He believed in vaccines. I’m sure he would take that vaccine again, and he’d want the public to take it,” Rochelle said. “The message is, be safe, take the vaccine — but the officials need to do more research. We need to know the cause. The vaccines need to be as safe as possible. Every life matters.”

Another person in California, who wasn't identified, died hours after receiving the coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 21, according to a Facebook post by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. The individual tested positive for COVID-19 in late December. Health officials didn't specify which vaccine the person received.

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    Amid a rollout of coronavirus vaccines, technology and health firms are working on ways that people get digital certificates to be displayed on smartphones to show proof of inoculation. AFP / Kenzo Tribouillard