18-year-old being treated at Loma Linda is among 6 in U.S. with reported blood clots after J&J vaccine

Local news

An 18-year-old woman in Nevada who suffered seizures after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has received three brain surgeries related to blood clots, a spokesperson for her family said.

Emma Burkey began feeling sick about a week after receiving the one-dose vaccine early this month, said Bret Johnson, a pastor and family friend. She was one of six women in the U.S. and the only reported resident in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, who experienced a serious clotting side effect. One person died.

Burkey was first treated at St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson before being airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California for specialized care, Johnson said. Burkey was taken out of an induced coma and off a respirator, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Her parents, Russ and Kathy, have visited Burkey briefly each day because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“She is improving slowly,” Johnson said. “The word we got from her parents last night was ‘slowly, slowly slowly.’ ”

Johnson told KTLA Burkey wasn’t able to speak, but is communicating a bit by blinking her eyes.

The U.S. government suspended use of the J&J vaccinations last week, just a week after European regulators declared that such clots are a rare but possible risk with the AstraZeneca vaccine, a shot made in a similar way but not yet approved for use in the U.S.

Federal health agencies have since been investigating if the vaccine could be the cause of blood clots in the women, or if providers should be aware of preexisting conditions or medications that could lead to complications.

Dr. Michael Hogue, dean of the pharmacy school at Loma Linda University, said those who aren’t vaccinated are safer getting one of the shots still available than risking COVID-19 infection.

 “I think people can have a high degree of confidence that these vaccines are safe. And they’re very effective at preventing the disease, which is much more likely to cause blood clots,” he said.

Hogue added that the incidence of blood clots with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine remains rare.

“While there has been a half a dozen or so cases of blood clots associated with the J&J vaccine administration, it’s been in over 7 million doses of the vaccine given. So literally the chances of having this happen are less than one in a million.”

A panel with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Burkey and other women experienced headaches and back pain prior to the discovery of blood clots, KVVU-TV reported. The panel said Burkey was given Heparin, a blood thinner. However, the panel and Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned that blood thinners can make the condition worse.

“The student body and staff here at Coral Academy have heavy hearts as we now know one of our very own students has experienced adverse side effects from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In a ‘one in a million’ chance of this happening, we are heartbroken, yet pledge our support to the family during this difficult time,” said Ercan Aydogdu, CEO of Coral Academy Las Vegas. Burkey was a senior at the school.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise money for the 18-year-old’s medical expenses.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trademark and Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Most Popular

Latest News

More News