KEY POINTS

  • The CDC is investigating the death of a woman who received Johnson & Johnson's vaccine
  • She died from the rare blood-clotting disorder CVST
  • Health officials say CVST appears in concert with low levels of blood platelets

Federal health officials are currently investigating the death of a Virginia woman who suffered from bleeding within her brain after receiving theJohnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. 

A 45-year-old received the single-dose J&J vaccine in early March. While experiencing a severe headache on March 17, she went to the hospital, where bleeding in her brain was detected, according to data from the FDA and CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. She died the next day.

Danny Avula, the state’s Vaccination Coordinator, on Tuesday released a statement confirming that her case is currently being investigated by the CDC to determine whether her condition was linked to the J&J vaccine. 

“This pause is reassuring in that it demonstrates that the systems that are in place to monitor vaccine safety are working. We look forward to a thorough review by federal health officials,” Avula said. 

The FDA and CDC on Tuesday announced their recommendation to temporarily halt the distribution of J&J's -19 vaccine over reports of a rare blood-clotting disorder. 

Six women between the ages of 18 and 48 who received the vaccine shot developed potentially deadly blood-clotting. One woman died and another is in critical condition. 

The FDA said the rare blood-clotting disorder, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST, is being seen in concert with a low level of blood platelets. Doctors typically administer heparin to treat blood clots. However, the FDA said the anticoagulant drug may be dangerous in these particular cases.

Symptoms of CVST can vary, but it generally includes severe headache, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, loss of control over movement, and seizures. 

Officials point out that those symptoms are far more troublesome than the milder symptoms, including fever and a slight headache, that individuals have experienced several days after being vaccinated.

“It would be more important if someone reported to an emergency room with a very severe headache or blood clots,” Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, said. 

FDA vaccine advisors reportedly will meet December 10 to discuss approving vaccines which pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Moderna say are at least 95 percent effective FDA vaccine advisors reportedly will meet December 10 to discuss approving vaccines which pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Moderna say are at least 95 percent effective Photo: AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA