Michelle Barlow (51), began experiencing nausea and headaches about one week after she received her first jab in March.
A ‘fit and healthy’ mother-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 in March.
She was admitted eventually to hospital, but tragically she died that month.
Senior coroner Timothy Brennand heard that Mrs Barlow, who worked as a civil servant for the Department of Work and Pensions for 34 years, had suffered blood clots likely to have been caused by the vaccine.
An inquest at Bolton Coroners Court heard the condition was a ‘very rare’ side-effect to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Michelle, a mother-of two from Orrell in Wigan, received her first dose of the vaccine on March 7.
Michelle’s 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.
By March 19, Mrs Barlow’s symptoms had become ‘overwhelming’ so she sought help at Wigan Infirmary.
Doctors carried out tests, which showed she had a ‘very low’ blood platelet count. After being discharged, she was told that her blood platelet count was very low and to come back for an additional check the week after.
However, Mrs Barlow’s condition failed to improve and she was readmitted to hospital the next day.
The inquest found that doctors suspected her of having a gastroenteritis.
Mr Barlow said the family was unable to be with her at the hospital due to Covid restrictions and on March 22 he got a phone call from a nurse telling him to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
He said, “I was certain that something was wrong.” ‘When I got that phone call, I expected to go and see my wife and she would survive.’
She was eventually admitted to hospital at Wigan Infirmary (pictured), where she later died
When he arrived, Mr Barlow said his wife told him doctors ‘could not do anything for her’.
“The doctors arrived and gave me an explanation,” stated Mr Barlow. ‘I just said to them ‘you have to save her’.’
The following day, Mrs Barlow was buried with her family at her side.
Pathologist Dr Naveen Sharma gave her cause of death as ‘multi-organ failure as a consequence of pulmonary embolism’.
He said there was likely a ‘causative link’ between the blood clot in Mrs Barlow’s lungs and the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Dr Sharma said the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had this month produced guidance suggesting a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the ‘very rare’ side effect of blood clots.
He said 425 cases of major blood clots had been identified in people who had taken the AstraZeneca vaccine and said this 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.
Furthermore, 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.
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.
Paying tribute to his wife, Mr Barlow said: ‘She was a wonderful, wife, mother and grandmother.
“She was absolutely perfect. Michelle was and is to me the most loving, caring, patient and selfless person anyone could ever meet.
“She was strong and fit. She was healthy and fit.
Michelle, a Wigan mother-of-two, got her first vaccine dose on March 7. She was already dead days later.
Dr Peter Kreppel, a GP at Mesnes View Surgery in Wigan, said Mrs Barlow was 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.
Mr Barlow told the inquest that when his wife contacted the practice to inform them it was a mistake, she was told: ‘Just have the vaccine.’
Had Mrs Barlow not been in that category, she would not have been invited to have the vaccine at that stage, Dr Kreppel said.
However, he said he would still have recommended her taking the vaccine as the risk of thrombosis was 100 times greater without the vaccine than when having taken it.
Dr Mian Ahmed, a consultant physician at Wigan Infirmary, told the hearing it was not until a CT scan on Mrs 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.
Dr Ahmed said if the same situation arose now, he would prescribe haemoglobin, blood thinners and CT scans sooner for the patient.
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’.
As well as her husband, Mrs Barlow’s sons, Matthew and Mark, were also present at the hearing alongside other relatives.
Senior coroner Timothy Brennand said he will give his conclusions at the inquest on Friday morning.
Is there a risk that blood will clot following AstraZeneca’s jab?
Because of fears about blood clots, British health officials recommended that all children under 40 years old be offered an alternative vaccine to AstraZeneca.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency reports that there were 416 VITT cases and 72 deaths as of September 1.
However, statisticians looked at the data and discovered that rates among young adults were somewhat higher, while females seemed to be most vulnerable.
Cambridge academics estimated around 1.9 in every 100,000 twenty-somethings given AstraZeneca’s jab would suffer serious blood clots alongside abnormally low platelet levels (thrombocytopenia) — the specific disorder linked to the jab. This figure was 1.5 for 30-year-olds.
This was compared to the number of Covid ICU admissions that could be avoided if that cohort got the jab. Then they analyzed the risk/benefit ratio for each scenario, which was based on the severity of the disease.
If we look at the April prevalence level (less than 30,000 cases per week), only 0.2 ICU admissions will be prevented. The figure for adults aged 30 to 40 was approximately 0.8.
The results showed however that AstraZeneca vaccines to people aged 40 to 49 years old outweighed any potential risks (1.7 ICU admissions prevented per 100,000 people as compared to the 1.2 bloodclots).
The decision to offer Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccine to under-40s was made because of the low incidence of coronavirus and the small chance that younger people will become seriously ill.
The benefits of vaccination for older adults who are more at risk from the disease, say regulators. Top scientists claim that Jabs have saved approximately 13,000 lives in England.
It was impossible, however, for No10’s vaccine advisory panel, to provide an accurate age cutoff because of the low number of blood clots. They were unable to analyze figures for more than a decade.
The first blood clots to cause alarm in people was one that appeared in the veins next to their brains in an illness called Cerebral Singular Venous Tissuethrombosis (CSVT).
People have been developing clots all over their body since that time. These clots are typically linked to low platelets. It is not common because the immune system uses platelets to make the clots.
The majority of cases are successful and people can recover. If blocked earlier, however they could cause serious problems such as strokes or other heart- or lung issues.
The location of the clot will determine which symptoms you experience. Brain blockages can cause excruciating headaches. Plaque in the abdominal major arteries can result in persistent stomach pain. A clot in the leg may cause swelling.
Researchers in Germany believe the problem lies in the adenovirus vector — a common cold virus used so both vaccines can enter the body.
The complication has been ruled out by academics who are studying the matter. Moderna’s and Pfizer’s mRNA vaccinations have a unique delivery method.
Experts at Goethe-University of Frankfurt and Ulm University, in Helmholtz, say the AstraZeneca vaccine enters the nucleus of the cell – a blob of DNA in the middle. The Pfizer jab, on the other hand, enters the liquid around it which acts as a factory for protein.
Scientists claim that bits of coronavirus protein can get into the nucleus and break down. The unusual pieces then escape to the bloodstream where they may trigger clotting.