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King County woman dies from ‘rare’ Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine blood clot

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A King County woman is the first person in Washington state to die from a rare blood-clotting syndrome after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Washington State Department of Health on Oct. 5.

The woman, who is in her late 30s, received her single-dose shot on Aug. 26. She died nearly two weeks later on Sept. 7, according to Public Health — Seattle & King County. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported three other similar deaths nationwide.

“Sadly, this is the first such death in Washington state,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, the state’s secretary of health. “We send our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. Losing a loved one at any time is a tragic and difficult and pain that’s become all too familiar in the last year and a half of this pandemic.”

The woman’s cause of death was determined to be thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), according to public health, which is a rare condition, but “potentially serious adverse event for those who received the J&J vaccine.”

The diagnosis was confirmed by the CDC’s Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Project, according to public health.

Out of 12.5 million doses of the J&J vaccine administered as of July 8 this year, 38 people have had confirmed cases of TTS, according to the CDC, adding that most of these people have recovered.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines — which are the most widely available vaccines in King County — have not been associated with this rare condition, according to the county’s statement.

Over the last 30 days in King County, an unvaccinated person’s risk of dying from COVID-19 was 57 times higher than a vaccinated person of the same age, according to the county. The risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 is 41 times higher for an unvaccinated person, compared to a vaccinated person of the same age.

To date in King County, approximately 1,899 people have died from COVID-related illness.

State and county public health agencies did not identify the woman, but the Seattle Times reported an obituary published in The Oregonian notes 37-year-old Jessica Berg Wilson died on Sept. 7 due to “COVID-19 Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT),” according to the obituary.

Wilson, who was from Portland, was “an exceptionally healthy and vibrant 37-year-old mother with no underlying health conditions,” the obituary reads.

“She had been vehemently opposed to taking the vaccine, knowing she was in good health and of a young age and thus not at risk for serious illness,” Wilson’s obituary continues.

Wilson leaves behind her husband and two young daughters.

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Olivia Sullivan

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Olivia Sullivan

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