CDC Investigating Death of Oregon Woman following Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccination

Portland–Oregon Health Authority has been informed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the death of an Oregon woman this week 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 April 20, two days after the CDC was notified on April 18. 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. Until the investigation is complete, it cannot be concluded whether her death is related to the vaccine.

She developed a rare but serious blood clot within two weeks following vaccination. This 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. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) 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.

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