CDC Confirmed Post-Vaccination Death From Blood Clotting 2 Weeks Before Alerting Public: Emails

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
June 25, 2022 Updated: July 17, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed in late 2021 that a person died from blood clotting after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine that had been linked with an increased clotting risk, but didn’t alert the public for two weeks, newly obtained emails show.

Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, a CDC official, told colleagues at the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Dec. 2, 2021, “We have confirmed a 9th TTS death following Janssen vaccination,” according to emails obtained by The Epoch Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

TTS refers to thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a condition that features low platelet levels combined with blood clots.

Officials had recommended a nationwide pause on the administration of the vaccine, produced by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiary Janssen, in April 2021 after six women experienced TTS after J&J vaccination and three died. But they lifted the pause after determining the vaccine remained safe and effective.

The condition wasn’t discussed much in the ensuing months, despite the CDC later reporting that five additional deaths occurred before Aug. 31, 2021. Shimabukuro gave a single update, in mid-October 2021, saying five total deaths had been reported.

That was until December 2021. Twelve days after Shimabukuro alerted colleagues of the ninth death, the FDA urged health care workers not to administer the vaccine to people with certain conditions because of the TTS risk. Two days after that, Dr. Isaac See, another CDC official, informed the public during a meeting that nine deaths had occurred post-vaccination.

It’s unclear when the CDC learned of the sixth, seventh, and eighth deaths.

The CDC takes reports made to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and attempts to confirm the reports, including post-vaccination deaths. A higher number of post-vaccination TTS deaths have been reported to the system than the number the CDC has verified.

One day after Shimabukuro confirmed the ninth death, his message was forwarded by Dr. Amanda Cohn, another CDC official, to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“See below, information on a 9th completely tragic death from TTS,” Cohn wrote.

“Many thanks for letting us know … any tragic case,” Walensky responded.

The emails were partially redacted; one was fully redacted.

Four days after Shimabukuro’s email, CDC officials gave an update on post-vaccination TTS to the COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical Work Group, part of the agency’s vaccine advisory panel, in a closed-door meeting. The Epoch Times has asked for presentations and audio from the meeting.

It took 14 days to update the public. That happened during a virtual meeting of the advisory panel that anyone was free to monitor.

Asked about the delay in making the public aware of the deaths, the CDC provided a comment from the team that works on verifying deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

“For all reports classified as serious (which includes deaths after vaccination), VAERS (within one business day of receiving the report) requests all available medical records, including death certificates and autopsy reports, for the reported patient. For some reports, including some potential reports of TTS, consultation with experts to determine if the report meets a standardized case definition is performed. Regarding verified reports of TTS where the patient died, these processes occurred during their usual timeframes,” the team said.

During the virtual meeting, advisers recommended the CDC say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine wasn’t “preferred” because of its link to TTS. Walensky endorsed the recommendation.

But it wasn’t until five months later that drug regulators at the FDA formally restricted the use of the vaccine because of the blood clotting risk.

The agency said it conducted an updated analysis of reports and identified 60 confirmed cases, including nine confirmed deaths. It said it was limiting the availability of the shot because the reported cases and deaths were “not appreciably lower than previously reported.”

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.