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caption: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is held by pharmacist Madeline Acquilano at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
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Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is held by pharmacist Madeline Acquilano at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Credit: AP Photo/Jessica Hill

King County woman dies of rare blood clotting following Johnson & Johnson Covid shot

Health officials say a King County woman has died from a rare blood clotting disorder after receiving a shot of the single dose Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.

The woman, who was in her late 30s, is one of four deaths confirmed nationwide in connection to the vaccine.

The woman received the shot on August 26 and died on September 7, according to Public Health — Seattle & King County. The cause of her death was determined to be thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a rare, newly identified disorder characterized by the formation of arterial blood clots that are induced by a vaccination.

Symptoms of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome include abdominal pain, severe headache, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and swelling of the legs within the days and weeks following a vaccination. Officials urge anyone experiencing such symptoms to seek medical attention.

To date, there have been 47 confirmed cases of the syndrome among individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson shot in the U.S., most of them non-fatal. The majority of those cases have occured in women under the age of 50, but some include women in older age groups and men.

Public Health officials have declined to identify the King County woman who died September 7, stating that they are "only able to confirm cause and manner of death for individuals by name who were under the jurisdiction of the [King County Medical Examiner's Office]." However, an obituary published in The Oregonian identifies 37-year-old Jessica Berg Wilson of Seattle as having died of "COVID-19 Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia."

The obituary states that Wilson was the mother of two young children and had no underlying health conditions. It also says that Wilson, who volunteered at her child's school, "had been vehemently opposed to taking the vaccine" but ultimately gave in to "heavy-handed vaccine mandates."

Health agencies have emphasized the rarity of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, citing a reported rate of 7 cases per 1 million women vaccinated in the 18 to 49 age range. For women over 50 and men, the rate is even lower, at less than 1 per 1 million people vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Federal health officials publicly flagged the potential for the Johnson & Johnson shots to cause blood clots on April 13, leading to a nationwide pause of the use of the vaccine. But the CDC determined the benefits of resuming use of the vaccine outweighed the risks.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Public Health — Seattle & King County underscored the risks of being unvaccinated amid the pandemic.

"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. The risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 was 41 times higher for an unvaccinated person, compared to a vaccinated person of the same age. In King County to date, 1,899 people have died from COVID-related illness."

The CDC reports that as of September 22, more than 14.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine have been administered in the U.S.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.