Woman died from 'extremely rare' blood clot ‘likely’ caused by reaction to COVID jab

·6-min read
A 'fit and healthy' mum-of-two died from a blood clot 'likely' to have been caused by the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, an inquest has heard.

Michelle Barlow, 51, began suffering headaches and nausea about a week after receiving her first dose of the jab back in March.

She was admitted to hospital and died on March 23.

Credit: MEN Media
Michelle Barlow, 51, died after suffering a blood clot following her first Covid jab. (Reach)

A mum-of-two died from a 'very rare' blood clot that was 'likely' to have been caused by the AstraZeneca COVID jab, an inquest has heard.

Michelle Barlow was admitted to hospital after suffering headaches and nausea about a week after receiving her first dose of the vaccine in March, but sadly died.

An inquest heard that the 51-year-old had died of 'multi-organ failure as a consequence of pulmonary embolism'. 

The pathologist who recorded the cause of death said there was likely to have been a "causative link" between a blood clot in Barlow's lungs and the AstraZeneca vaccine that she had received. 

Bolton Coroner's Court heard that the condition was a "very rare" side-effect of the jab.

Barlow, 51, began suffering headaches and nausea about a week after receiving her first dose of the jab in March. (Reach)
Barlow, 51, began suffering headaches and nausea about a week after receiving her first dose of the jab in March. (Reach)

Pathologist Dr Naveen Sharma, who told the inquest there was likely a 'causative link' between the blood clot and the vaccine, said 425 cases of major blood clots had been identified in people who had taken the AstraZeneca vaccine and which represented “rare but very clearly recognised potential complications”.

Of the 425 cases, 215 in women and 206 in men, 154 cases related to blood clots in the head and 271 in other parts of the body. Of the 425 cases, the ages ranged from 18 to 93, with 101 cases in the 50 to 59 age range, 19 of which were among the 73 fatal cases in total.

Watch: Blood clots in people with severe COVID-19 may be related to abnormal antibody response: Study

He said currently 24.8 million people had been given the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 24.1 million people had been double-jabbed with the same medicine.

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The inquest heard that Barlow, a mother-of two from Orrell in Wigan, received her first dose of the vaccine on 7 March.

Her husband Ian told the hearing that in the days that followed, she began to experience "flu-like symptoms", and later developed headaches, diarrhoea and nausea.

The mum-of-two eventually sought treatment at Wigan Infirmary, where she later died. (Reach)
The mum-of-two eventually sought treatment at Wigan Infirmary, where she later died. (Reach)

By 19 March she sought help at Wigan Infirmary for the "overwhelming" symptoms.

There, tests showed she had a "very low" blood platelet count and she was discharged and told to return for a check-up the following week.

However, her condition failed to improve and she was readmitted the next day with suspected gastroenteritis.

She died on 23 March with her family at her bedside.

Dr Mian Ahmed, a consultant physician at Wigan Infirmary, told the hearing it was not until a CT scan of Barlow's lungs revealed a blood clot that doctors began to suspect a possible reaction to the vaccine, rather than gastroenteritis.

He said the condition - vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (VITT) - was not recognised at the time of her death.

If the same situation arose now, he would prescribe haemoglobin, blood thinners and CT scans sooner for the patient, he told the inquest.

He agreed this may have given her a “better chance” but it was a “difficult call”. Marius Paraoan, a surgeon at the hospital, said that after the viewing the CT scan, he concluded that Mrs Barlow's condition was 'unsurvivable'.

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Dr Peter Kreppel, a GP at Mesnes View Surgery in Wigan, said the mum-of-two had been put forward for her first dose of the vaccine early due to an error in her records, which stated she was a carer for her husband, but was told to have the jab anyway. 

But he said regardless, he would still have recommended she have the vaccine as the risk of thrombosis was 100 times greater without the vaccine than when having taken it.

The government's Yellow Card scheme, which allows members of the public or health professionals to submit suspected side effects, says the MHRA has carried out a thorough review into UK cases of "an extremely rare and unlikely to occur" specific type of blood clot in the brain, known as CVST occurring alongside low levels of platelets after the AstraZeneca jab, as well as other blood clotting reports.

It says the review found that the evidence of a link with the AstraZeneca jab is likely and advised that anyone who experienced cerebral or other major blood clots occurring with low levels of platelets after their first jab shouldn't have further doses.

It added: "The MHRA has also confirmed that the evidence to date does not suggest that the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca causes venous thromboembolism which occurred in the absence of a low platelet count."

Up to 10 November 2021, the MHRA had received Yellow Card reports of 425 cases of major blood clots with ow platelet counts in the UK after the AstraZeneca jab. 

The overall fatality rate was 17%, with 73 deaths - six after the second dose.

This compares to an estimated 24.8million first doses of the AstraZeneca jab administered by 10 November, and 24.1 million second doses, putting the overall incidence of clots at 15.3 per million doses.

It says: "These cases have also been analysed by the government’s independent advisory body, the COVID-19 Vaccines Benefit Risk Expert Working Group, which includes lay representatives and advice from leading haematologists.

"On the basis of this ongoing review, the advice remains that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks in the majority of people."

Earlier this year, when concerns were raised about the links between blood clots at the AstraZeneca jab, then Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people to "listen to the regulators" and "get the jab".

He said everyone should take a vaccine when their time comes, and the risk of experiencing a brain clot was the same as "taking a long-haul flight".

This week there have been growing concerns and a new push for vaccine uptake due to a new 'super variant' of COVID, described by experts as the "worst we've seen so far".

The government has suspended flights from six southern African countries from midday on Friday, adding them to the red list in a bid to prevent the spread of the new variant, called B.1.1.529, which was identified in South Africa.

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