LAS VEGAS (KVVU) — An 18-year-old Las Vegas woman suffered seizures and clotting in the brain after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on or about April 1, according to a GoFundMe campaign raising money for her medical expenses.
The woman, identified as Emma Burkey, was one of six women across the country who experienced a serious clotting side effect after receiving the one-shot vaccine.
The use of the J&J vaccine has been suspended while federal health agencies investigate if the vaccine could be the cause of blood clots in the women, or if providers should be aware of preexisting conditions or medications that could lead to complications.
Burkey was initially treated at St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson, Nevada, according to the fundraiser, which was verified by a company spokesperson. She was subsequently airlifted to Loma Linda Hospital’s special neural treatment unit near San Bernardino, California.
“Emma was put into an induced coma, ventilated and at least three brain surgeries have been done to repair blood clots,” the GoFundMe states.
A family spokesperson also confirmed the details of Burkey’s hospitalization. The Burkey family’s pastor at The Walk Church explained how their community has been praying for recovery.
“There’s been a whole lot of unknowns throughout this journey. But it’s it’s led and moved us to a deeper sense of prayer, a deeper sense of faith. And really, it’s united us in a way to stand together with the Berkey family and pray them through even in the challenging days,” said Pastor Heiden Ratner.
A CDC panel stated that Burkey and other women experienced headaches and back pain prior to the discovery of blood clots.
“She just began to have some pretty severe headaches. And then when she started to have some seizure-like symptoms, and actually had some seizures. They knew it was time for her to go to the hospital,” Ratner said.
The CDC panel disclosed that Burkey was given Heparin, a blood thinner; the panel and Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned that blood thinners can make the condition worse.
Ercan Aydogdu, CEO of Coral Academy Las Vegas, confirmed Burkey was a senior at the school in a statement.
The student body and staff here at Coral Academy have heavy hearts as we now know one of our very own students has experienced adverse side effects from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In a “one in a million” chance of this happening, we are heartbroken, yet pledge our support to the family during this difficult time. We have also made on-campus resources readily available for those who know the student and need assistance during this time. We support all of our parents and their individual right to choose how to move forward with vaccinating their students.