A 60-year-old woman died from blood clots after receiving Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID vaccine, according to an autopsy report released Sept. 20 by Dr. Michael Caplan, a forensic pathologist for Michigan Medicine.
Sandra Jacobs “appears to have succumbed” to a “rare but nevertheless documented” complication associated with the viral vector vaccine — cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) — Caplan wrote in the summary.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, CVST occurs when a “blood clot forms in the brain’s venous sinuses,” preventing blood from draining out of the brain. “As a result, blood cells may break and leak blood into the brain tissues, forming a hemorrhage.”
This condition brought about “hemorrhagic cerebral infarct,” or stroke caused by brain bleeding, and brain swelling, Caplan wrote.
The death certificate, obtained after some difficulty by Jacobs’ daughter, Tatum Strieter-Byron, lists the cause of death as “complications of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis” and “recent administration” of a COVID vaccine as the contributing condition.
Caplan deemed the manner of death “natural.” It may also be considered a “therapeutic complication” since this is a known vaccine issue, he wrote. Under “final diagnosis,” Caplan first listed the COVID vaccine.
Jacobs died 13 days after receiving the single-dose J&J vaccine at a CVS pharmacy on April 8 — just five days before federal health agencies temporarily paused the vaccine while they examined an unusual blood-clotting disorder, Michigan Live reported.
Though it took months to confirm it, Strieter-Byron knew from the start her mother died from the vaccine.
“She was a real person. She is not a piece of, just like fictitious political propaganda, where they’re saying it doesn’t exist,” Strieter-Byron said. “It’s not true. It does exist. She was a real person with a real life.”
Michigan Live reached out to Caplan for comment, but efforts were unsuccessful. “In conjunction with the Washtenaw County Health Department, we have decided not to have Dr. Caplan or the medical examiner’s office provide comment on the case,” Dr. Allecia Wilson, the county’s chief medical examiner, wrote in an email.
J&J also did not respond to a request for comment. A doctor with the manufacturer’s COVID vaccine safety team called a reporter, but only to obtain Strieter-Byron’s information, who as of Oct. 15 had not heard from the doctor.
On April 13, federal agencies paused J&J’s COVID vaccine, marketed under its Janssen subsidiary, while they investigated the vaccine’s possible link to potentially dangerous blood clots.
During the April 23 meeting, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) said it had identified 15 women diagnosed with rare blood clots, including three who died. Only two of the women were older than 50, with the risk highest in women ages 30 to 39.
The ACIP said the link between blood clots and J&J’s COVID vaccine was “plausible,” but concluded the vaccine’s “benefits outweighed the risks” and recommended the vaccine for persons 18 and older in the U.S. under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
On April 26, the FDA amended its EUA for the J&J vaccine to reflect the risk of rare blood clots and said vaccinations could resume immediately.
According to the most recent data from the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), between Dec. 14, 2020 and Oct. 8, 2021, there were 22,896 reports of blood clotting disorders. Of those, 15,190 reports were attributed to Pfizer, 5,092 reports to Moderna and 2,551 reports to J&J.
Excluding foreign reports — those reports submitted to VAERS from outside the U.S. — there have been 10,131 reports of blood clotting disorders. Of those, 4,407 reports were attributed to Pfizer, 3,654 reports to Moderna and 2,018 reports to J&J.
The Defender has reported on numerous cases of blood clots following COVID vaccination:
- Jessica Berg Wilson, a 37-year-old mother who died from vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia after she received J&J’s COVID vaccine as a condition of volunteering at her child’s school.
- Emma Burkey, an 18-year-old teen was put on a respirator and underwent three brain surgeries from blood clots after receiving J&J’s vaccine.
- Anne VanGeest, a healthy 35-year-old, died of a brain hemorrhage 11 days after receiving J&J’s COVID vaccine.
- Brad Malagarie, 43, suffered a stroke from blood clots hours after receiving J&J’s COVID vaccine. The stroke left him unable to walk, talk and with paralysis on the left side of his body.
- Everest Romney, 17, developed blood clots after his first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine.
J&J’s vaccine has also been linked to Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS), a “serious but rare” neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system — the network of nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord. GBS can range from a very mild case with brief weakness, to paralysis, which can leave the person unable to breathe independently.
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