A 39-year-old British woman, Stephanie Dubois, has died just a few days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. The model, who split her time between the UK and Cyprus, received the vaccine on 6 May in the Cypriot town of Paphos, and fell into a coma on 19 May.
It's reported that she died after suffering a "serious thrombotic episode," and while no link between the vaccine and her death has currently been confirmed, it will be investigated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The AstraZeneca vaccine was one of the first globally to be approved for COVID, but attracted controversy back in March when it emerged that a small number of recipients went on to develop blood clots shortly after receiving it. By mid-March, several EU countries including France, Germany, Spain and Italy had suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, however they went on to reinstate it just days later. Cyprus was one of the countries that followed this pattern, however with Stephanie Dubois having died as a result of a blood clot, it may reignite the debate over the safety of the vaccine.
In April in the UK it was announced that those under the age of 30 would be offered an alternative vaccine to the AstraZeneca one, after 30 people out of a total of 18 million who had been given the jab were found to have developed a blood clot, and seven died. This was later extended to those under 40. For context, however, women who take the contraceptive pill are at far higher risk of getting a blood clot, with around 1 in 1,000 women per year going on to develop one.
After Stephanie Dubois received the first dose of the vaccine on 6 May, she posted on Facebook that she felt "horrendous." In a post, she wrote: "So I had the vaccination today! I hate needles, today was no exception . . . And now I feel horrendous . . . pizza and bed for me."
In a later update, on 14 May, the model explained she had been taken to hospital. "Woke up feeling fine and then within an hour I had fully body shakes, all my joints seized and I was struggling to breathe and was cold to the bone with a persistent headache and dizziness," she wrote.
A COVID test determined she didn't have the virus as she'd feared, and in another post the 39-year-old speculated whether her symptoms may have been due to getting the vaccine. "I have had my bloods done and there is definitely something off as my white blood cell count is high, but they don’t know what it is causing it," she wrote.
"Maybe I’m having a prolonged reaction to my Covid jab last week, or maybe those side effects affected my immune system and I’ve caught something else In the process," the post continued. "I am completely drained, no energy and my whole body hurts with sore and weak joints… but it is better than it was this morning. This morning really scared me to be honest."
In her last post on Facebook, shared on 18 May, Stephanie said that she was "done being ill now," and that she was undergoing yet more tests. However, the following day she is reported to have slipped into a coma, and never regained consciousness. Local media reports suggest that Stephanie suffered a brain haemorrhage and died on Saturday afternoon (22 May).
Our thoughts are with Stephanie's loved ones at this awfully sad time.
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