PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon and U.S. health officials are investigating the death of an Oregon woman following immunization with Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The Oregon Health Authority said it was informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the investigation into the woman’s death.
The woman, who has only been identified as being in her 50s at the time of her death, received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine before the pause order was issued, which was April 13.
The woman developed a rare blood clot within two weeks following her vaccination, along with very low platelets.
Dr. Shimi Sharief, senior health advisor with the Oregon Health Authority, said that until the investigation is complete, a correlation can’t be drawn between the vaccine and the woman’s death.
“Cases of the blood clot known as a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis has been identified in six women around the country between the ages of 18 and 48 who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” said Sharief.
Due to patient privacy laws, Sharief said the state won’t be releasing any more details about the woman, like what county she lived in. She did confirm the woman died at a hospital. Sharief said symptoms to watch out for include “a severe and unusual headache outside of a general headache that headache sufferers usually experience in addition to certain symptoms like shortness of breath, stroke-like symptoms, abdominal pain or leg pain. In addition, some people with low platelet can present with small dots in the hands and legs.” The dots Sharief mentioned would likely be red or brown.
Before the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused nationwide, cases of this blood clot had been identified among six women around the U.S. who had received the vaccine, according to health officials. OHA said the Oregon case “will add to the evidence of potential risk associated with Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”
OHA said it was notified of the potential adverse reaction on April 20, two days after the CDC was notified on April 18.
Sharief said the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices is reviewing all of the cases to weigh the risks and benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“The case count we are aware of so far is only about seven cases in a total of 7.5 million vaccinated across the country,” she said. “Additionally, we do have to note that all of the cases did not result in death; this is to our recognition the second death reported so far since the investigation began.”