IONIA, MI – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating the death of a Michigan mother of four after her family said she suffered a fatal brain clot due to complications from receiving a shot of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Anne VanGeest of Ionia, 35, had taken the shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 8, just days before the CDC announced a “pause” due to cerebral blood clot issues suffered by several women. Ultimately, 15 people would suffer these complications – representing 0.00018 percent of the 7.2 million J&J vaccinations administered – and three would die, but regardless, the CDC lifted the pause on April 23.
VanGeest would later die at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids on April 19; the official cause of death was listed as “acute subarachnoid hemorrhage non-traumatic,” which is when a blood clot in a vessel bursts, causing bleeding in the space between the brain and in the surrounding membrane.
The family of VanGeest released a statement after she passed away on April 19.
“It is with profound sadness that we share the news of Anne’s passing as the result of complications after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine,” the statement said. “Anne, who was 35, was a loving mother, wife, sister and daughter. An active member in the animal rescue community, Annie will be remembered as a fierce advocate, a master-multi-tasker and a caring friend by her colleagues, fellow volunteers and family. We ask for privacy for her family as they mourn Annie’s passing and celebrate her life.”
VanGeest’s family noted that contributions in her name can be made to C-SNIP and Luvnpupz of Grand Rapids, Michigan, which are both animal care-related groups.
The CDC confirmed to VanGeest’s family via email that her death had been reported via the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a vaccine safety system managed by the CDC and the FDA.
“VAERS accepts reports of possible side effects (also called “adverse events”) following vaccination. The system is not designed to determine whether a reported adverse event was caused by the vaccine, but serves as an early warning system and helps CDC and FDA identify areas for further study,” the CDC said in the email. “When VAERS receives reports of serious illness or death after vaccination, VAERS staff contact the hospital where the patient was treated to obtain the associated medical records to better understand the adverse event.”