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Atchison Co., Kan. woman’s death under investigation as possibly vaccine-related

Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 12:13 PM CDT
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ATCHISON CO., Kan. (WIBW) - The death of an Atchison Co. woman is under investigation as possibly being vaccine-related; however, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said it would be premature to say that her cause of death was the COVID-19 vaccine.

Jefferson Co. Sheriff Jeff Herrig told 13 NEWS county dispatch received a call just before 4:30 Tuesday afternoon for an allergic reaction.

The location was Keystone Learning Services in Ozawkie, which was hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

The call described a 68-year-old female with difficulty breathing and speaking in between breaths who had been injected with an EPI pen.

Evans’ son would not provide comment at this time.

Stormont Vail confirmed the person was treated at their hospital.

A spokesman said a cause of death has yet to be determined and offered their thoughts and condolences to the family.

The KDHE says it became aware on Thursday morning of the death of 68-year-old Jeanie Evans. It said she was vaccinated in Jefferson Co. and according to the local health department, appropriate CDC guidelines were followed.

According to the KDHE, during the waiting period, after Evans received the vaccine, she began to experience anaphylaxis and medical treatment was given. It said she was then taken to a local hospital where she later died. KDHE said in a news release that the death will be fully investigated in accordance with standard protocol.

The KDHE said until the investigation is complete, the assignment of a specific cause of Evans’ death is premature.

The KDHE said its thoughts and condolences go out to the woman’s family.

According to the KDHE, the health department entered the death into the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, VAERS, which is a national vaccine surveillance program run by the CDC and FDA. VAERS tracks adverse events reported from all types of vaccines and vaccine manufacturers.

The KDHE said anytime a death or adverse event happens after vaccinations, the case is required to be reported to VAERS. It said the process allows the agencies to monitor adverse events that could be related to vaccinations. As is standard protocol, it said the death will be fully reviewed.

According to the KDHE, the VAERS report will help inform a more thorough investigation that can conclusively find the specific cause of death of the woman.

We searched the VAERS site and found a total of 382 adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine have been reported. That is about 0.5% of the more than 706,000 doses the state has administered. 152 being from Moderna and 230 in people following a Pfizer shot. 22 deaths were reported statewide and 16 resulted in reactions considered life-threatening or resulting in permanent disability.

By comparison, in 2019 -- the state reported 84 adverse reactions to the various influenza vaccines and one death. 55 reports for measles vaccines in the same period with no deaths.

The CDC stresses these are all being investigated and a report on the site does not mean the adverse event was caused by the vaccine.

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