(Update: adding video, comments from OHA)
Health officials stress they cannot say until investigation is complete whether death related to shot
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — An Oregon woman has died after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, officials with the Oregon Health Authority announced Thursday. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating the death, to find out if it was in fact related to the vaccine.
The announcement came just one day before the CDC is reportedly leaning toward lifting the pause on the nationwide distribution of the vaccine, which has been in place since April 13. It went into effect after reports of rare blood clots found in six women after they received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
The Oregon woman is the seventh to be hospitalized because of blood clots after receiving the vaccine, and the second to die.
Despite Thursday’s announcement, OHA Senior Health Advisor Dr. Shimi Sharief said the state agency will follow the CDC in its recommendation on whether or not to resume distribution of the vaccine.
“If the CDC does make a recommendation to resume distribution of Johnson and Johnson vaccine, we have the upmost confidence that it will be a decision made with thorough investigation and consideration of the potential benefits and risks in relationship to each other as we go through this pandemic,” she said in a media briefing late Thursday. “In that sense, we would reflect our distribution process based on the recommendation of the ACIP tomorrow.”
NewsChannel 21’s Max Goldwasser will have more details in his report on NewsChannel 21 First at Ten on Fox.
Here’s the full news release sent out by the Oregon Health Authority:
The Oregon Health Authority said Thursday it’s been informed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the death of an Oregon woman this week who developed a rare blood clot following immunization with Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Information about the death has been sent to the CDC through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), the national reporting system used to collect reports of adverse events after vaccination.
OHA was notified of the potential adverse event on Tuesday, two days after the CDC was notified. The Oregon resident, a woman in her 50s, received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine before the pause order on its use was issued. OHA has not identified where in Oregon the woman resided.
“Until the investigation is complete, it cannot be concluded whether her death is related to the vaccine,” OHA said in its announcement.
Officials said the woman developed a rare but serious blood clot within two weeks following vaccination. The blood clot was seen in combination with very low platelets. Prior to the issuance of the pause, cases of this serious blood clot had been identified among six women around the country who received the vaccine.
Health care providers are required to report certain adverse events after COVID-19 vaccines, in accordance with the emergency use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines. These include serious adverse events, such as death, any life-threatening event and inpatient hospitalization. At the time of the CDC–FDA pause recommendation, about 7.5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered in the United States, with more than 87,000 doses having been administered at locations throughout Oregon.
“The case in Oregon will add to the evidence of potential risk associated with Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” OHA said. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will review the data accumulated to date and weigh the risks and benefits of the vaccine. These considerations will inform the ACIP’s recommendations regarding use of the vaccine going forward.
The CDC and OHA will provide updates on any developments as they can be shared during the review and investigation process.
“OHA still continues to encourage all Oregonians to schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccination when appointments become available,” the agency said.