Medical Examiner Not Jumping to Conclusions After Utah Mom Dies Following COVID-19 Vaccination

Medical Examiner Not Jumping to Conclusions After Utah Mom Dies Following COVID-19 Vaccination
A health worker gives a shot of the Moderna vaccine at a Puerto Rico National Guard vaccination center during a priority COVID-19 vaccination program for the residents of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, on March 10, 2021. (Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)
Katabella Roberts

A Utah medical examiner on March 12 said there is not yet any evidence to suggest a connection between a death following a COVID-19 vaccination.

Kassidi Kurill, a 39-year-old mother of one from Ogden, received the vaccine due to her work as a surgical tech for several plastic surgeons. She received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine on Feb. 1. She had no underlying medical conditions.

Just four days after receiving the second dose of the vaccine, Kurill passed away. Her family believe her death may be directly linked to the vaccine.

However, medical experts are warning the public not to jump to conclusions and have suggested that there is no indication that receiving the vaccine may result in death.

Dr. Erik Christensen, Chief Medical Examiner for the Utah Department of Health, told Fox News that Kurill’s second dose of the vaccine and her death are only “temporally related.”

“We don’t have any evidence that there are connections between the vaccines and deaths at this point,” he said. “We don’t have any indication of that.”

Christensen said side effects such as fever-like symptoms from the vaccine are to be expected but how an individual responds to the vaccine will ultimately be determined by their biology.

“Certainly, there are side effects of a vaccine that are directly linkable to the vaccine and what’s going on in your body,” Christensen said. “You know, the pain in the arm ... the fever-like symptoms related to your immune response to what was put into you. Those kinds of things clearly happen.”

Christensen added that while cases involving death after the vaccine are worth investigating, until health officials know all the results, it’s just “speculation.”

According to local news channel KUTV, her family said that Kurill “had more energy” than most people around her and was a happy person with no known underlying health problems. But in the days after receiving the vaccine, she became sick and displayed symptoms such as soreness at the shot location.

She also complained that she couldn’t urinate despite drinking plenty of fluids. She improved slightly the next day but then her condition worsened; she said she had headaches, felt nauseated, and still couldn’t urinate. By Friday, Kurill was dead.

“I didn’t really cry when my dad died. I cry a lot for her,” her father, Alfred Hawley, a former fighter pilot in the Air Force, told the outlet. “She was the one who promised to take care of me.”

As of March 12, more than half a million people in Utah have been partially vaccinated, while 339,743 have been fully vaccinated, according to figures from Utah’s population is roughly 3.3 million people.
The Food and Drug Administration requires that vaccination providers report any deaths after COVID vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Report System (VAERS), which was put in place in 1990 to capture unforeseen reactions from vaccines.

On the VAERS database, there are four deaths reported involving Utah residents. One of those four deaths matches the age description of Kurill, while the other three were all in their 80s.

“To date, VAERS has not detected patterns in cause of death that would indicate a safety problem with COVID-19 vaccines,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on its website.

In a statement to Fox News, the Utah Department of Health said that the Office of the Medical Examiner will “investigate any death where the COVID-19 vaccine is mentioned on the death certificate.”

“There is no evidence COVID-19 vaccines have caused any deaths in Utah. Reports of adverse reactions and death following vaccination do not necessarily mean the vaccine caused the reaction or death. Reports of concern are verified and undergo scientific study. The CDC also follows up on any report of death to request additional information and learn about what occurred and to determine whether the death was a result of the vaccine or unrelated.”

An autopsy report on Kurill is pending.