A father of seven, 43, has been left paralyzed on one side of his body and unable to talk after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, according to the man’s family.
Brad Malagarie, of St. Martin, Mississippi, suffered a stroke caused by a blood clot in his left middle cerebral artery in his brain within four hours of being inoculated with the one-dose shot, his family said in a Facebook donation page set up to help pay for his recovery.
News of his condition comes as the CDC and FDA announced Tuesday they were recommending a pause in the rollout of J&J’s vaccine, after six women developed blood clots after receiving it, including one who died.
The figure of six was later updated to include nine people, but it’s not clear if the other three experienced thrombocytopenia.
The CDC committee won’t meet again until April 23 to discuss safety concerns with the J&J shot.
It is too early to tell whether or not the vaccine caused the blood clots which, if it did, is a less than one in a million side effect, with only six confirmed cases out of more than 7 million Americans who have received the shot.
But Malagarie’s family told WLOX they are convinced the vaccine is to blame for the 43-year-old’s condition.
Malagarie received the COVID-19 vaccine around midday on April 6 and returned to his office.
A few hours later, his coworkers noticed he was slumped unresponsive at his desk and he was rushed to hospital, the outlet reported.
Doctors diagnosed him with a stroke caused by a blood clot in his brain.
Celeste Foster O’Keefe, Malagarie’s aunt and boss, said her nephew suffered from high blood pressure but managed it with medication.
‘They called me and said he had that vaccine and something is wrong, we think it’s a stroke,’ she said.
‘He’s a young, healthy 43-year-old, and I immediately thought it, and I said be sure to tell the doctors he took that J & J vaccine and that, to me, is what caused his stroke.’
The father of seven, who is being treated at Ochsner Medical Center in Louisiana, has now left the ICU and is in a critical but stable condition but is still unable to talk or move the right side of his body, she said.
‘He can’t talk now and he can’t walk. He’s paralyzed on the right side. He knows who we are and he will just cry when he sees us,’ O’Keefe said.
It is not clear yet if he will regain speech and movement but doctors have told the family it could be a long road to recovery.
The Mississippi State Department of Health said in a statement it was ‘saddened’ to learn of Malagarie’s condition and is investigating but said it was ‘difficult, if not impossible’ to know if it is linked to the vaccine at this stage.
‘The Mississippi State Department of Health is saddened to hear about the recent illness of Mr. Malagarie and wishes him well,’ the health department told WLOX.
‘The Agency is certainly investigating the situation. It is difficult, if not impossible, to assign a cause and effect at this time.
‘It is important to note that strokes are not associated with this vaccine – instead a rare clotting syndrome has been identified.’
The department pointed out that the confirmed cases so far have all been in women and that reactions occurred several days after getting the shot.
‘Further, adverse reaction has been cited between six and 13 days after the vaccine was administered,’ they said.
Mississippi paused all administration of the J&J vaccine this week on the advice of the CDC and FDA.
It emerged Friday that J&J had reached out to other vaccine makers to join forces in investigating the risk of blood clots, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
Sources told the outlet, the pharma giant wanted to create an industry group to both look into the concerns and jointly communicate with the public.
Moderna and Pfizer – the makers of the two other vaccines available in the US – are said to have declined while AstraZeneca was happy to come on board.
AstraZeneca, which the US has not authorized but is administered in many other countries including the UK and Australia, has also seen rare reports of clots in people who have received its vaccine.
In its case, British and European regulators have stressed that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.
The CDC and FDA issued their shock advice to pause the J&J rollout Tuesday.
The same day, J&J also announced it was delaying the rollout of the vaccine in Europe, and pausing clinical trials while it investigates the possible link to blood clots.
Of the 7.1 million people who have received the one-shot vaccine in the US and been protected from COVID-19, only six cases of blood clots have been confirmed.
This equates to 0.00008 percent of those who received the shot.
Meanwhile, 0.27 percent of the US population suffer from Deep Vein Thrombosis – a more severe form of a blood clot – every year.
All of the cases so far involved women aged between 18 and 48 years old.
It is not clear if the women had underlying conditions that may have caused them to be more likely to get blood clots.
One of the women died and another is in critical condition in the hospital in Nebraska.