Red tape gets in way of figuring out a death after a vaccine

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Red tape gets in way of figuring out a death after a vaccine

A vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. [KIM SUNG-TAE]

A vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. [KIM SUNG-TAE]

 
A young woman died of a rare blood clot disorder after getting a Moderna Covid-19 shot — but whether the jab caused the death can't be determined because of red tape.
 
According to authorities in Jeju, a woman in her 20s died twelve days after receiving a Moderna Covid-19 vaccine and undergoing surgery for symptoms of blood clots.
 
She received her first dose of a Moderna vaccine on July 26 at a medical clinic in Jeju.
 
She got her shot through the "NoShow" system in which people can find clinics with leftover doses that have to be used after patients didn't show up for appointments.
 
Five days following the shot, she had a surgery in a general hospital for symptoms of blood clots, but died last Saturday.
 
After receiving a report of her severe adverse reaction, health authorities in Jeju asked the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) three times from Aug. 4 through 6 to test the patient for unusual blood clots with low blood platelets — termed thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS.
 
TTS is considered a rare yet serious adverse reaction that is usually caused by an adenovector vaccine like those made by AstraZeneca or Janssen, especially in adult women younger than 50 years old.
 
Under KDCA guidelines, a patient must meet four criteria to qualify for a TTS test: he or she must have developed suspected symptoms of TTS within four to 28 days after receiving an adenovector vaccine; have less than 50,000 per microliter of platelet count; elevated D-dimer levels; and if a blood clot is identified through an imaging test.
 
The woman was known to have met all the other categories except for the vaccine type. Moderna is an mRNA-based vaccine, not an adenovector vaccine.
 
Local authorities asked the KDCA to test her for TTS after getting opinions from local epidemiological specialists and citing cases of TTS reported in the U.S. after people got Moderna shots.
 
"We requested three times to the KDCA to conduct a test, and got an answer for the first and second requests that her sample could not be taken as she was a recipient of the Moderna vaccine,” An Seong-bae, a member of Jeju’s epidemiological investigations team, said during a briefing on Tuesday.
 
“For our third request, the KDCA’s expert advisory panel on blood clotting said the testing is unnecessary, and declined,” An said.
 
“We will contact individual members of the KDCA’s advisory panel on blood clotting and discuss with the Korean Medical Association, and come up with ways that patients can get tests in cases of side effects following a Moderna or Pfizer jab," he added.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun1@joongang.co.kr]
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