Kasey Turner, 18, died four days after being admitted to Barnsley Hospital, having received her first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine
An 18-year-old girl died after suffering from a “thunderclap headache” just days after receiving the first dose of her AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, an inquest has been heard.
Kasey Turner, believed to be one of the youngest people to die due to side effects of the jab, was rushed to intensive care with an acute onset headache last February.
She died at Barnsley Hospital just four days later, an inquest into her death heard.
Sheffield Coroners’ Court heard the teen was given the vaccine before the rest of her age group due to her role as a student paramedic at Teesside University.
Bur her heartbroken mother, Donna Turner, told the court that she wished her daughter had waited until the vaccine was rolled out to her age group.
This, she believed, would have meant that Kasey would not have had the AstraZeneca jab as there would have been more awareness of the risk of blood clots.
In a statement read to the court, Donna said: “I understand the need of vaccines to protect oneself and others but looking back at hindsight, I wish the AstraZeneca vaccine was not offered to Kasey and that she had waited until it was rolled out to 18-year-olds nationwide.
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“This would have meant that the awareness of the risk of blood clots associated with the vaccine would have been known and Kasey would not have had this particular vaccine due to the increased risk and it being withdrawn for people under 30.
“I understand the need for all frontline workers but she was not on placement at the time as she was only on placement at certain periods.
“She was not dealing with patients and the risk to her was not great.
“I feel that if Kasey knew at the stage about the potential blood clotting risks – if she was given the odds, she would have still gone ahead with the vaccine because the risk was so small.”
The AstraZeneca Covid vaccine was first associated with the risk of blood clots accompanied by low platelet levels affecting the younger group of people, which health authorities described as “extremely rare”.
The UK subsequently issued a guideline on April 7, 2021, that people under the age of 30 should be offered an alternative vaccine.
The Government issued updated guidelines on May 7 that people under the age of 40 were to be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Kasey received her vaccination on February 13, 2021, as part of the Covid-19 immunization program for patient-facing operational staff.
At the time, the vaccine was considered suitable for all adults over the age of 18.
Donna said Kasey was more convinced to have the vaccine as she had seen how seriously the virus had impacted others during her placement.
She had also had Covid herself in October 2020.
Donna said Kasey’s death has changed the family’s views on the vaccine and its safety.
Kasey’s twin sister Morgan also had the AstraZeneca vaccine when the link between the vaccine and the risk of clots was not known.
The family then made the decision that Morgan would not have the second dose, but she went on to have the Pfizer vaccine in December last year.
In a moving tribute by her mum, read out to the court, Donna described Kasey as “cheeky, loud, and bubbly” ever since she was little.
She said: “She would never shut up, constantly talking about any random rubbish just so she could talk.
“She was the biggest drama queen you could ever meet.
“Despite turning 18 during lockdown, she still managed several nights out when the pubs reopened.
“She was the life and soul of the party, she would light up every room she walked into.
“She absolutely sounds like one of a kind and there will never be anyone else like her.
“Losing Kasey so suddenly when she was healthy and just starting out on the pathway to her chosen career has absolutely broken me.
“I never thought I would have to say goodbye to my 18-year-old daughter in such sudden circumstances.
“She would be one of the very few unlucky people to have a reaction to a vaccine that was supposed to keep her and others safe.
“Our lives have changed forever.”
Assistant Coroner Tanyka Rawden returned a narrative conclusion that Kasey had blood clots caused by the vaccine’s use or vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia (VITT).
She also said that when Kasey had the first CT scan, the thrombosis was present on that scan to be seen but VITT was not identified until March 19, when the concern on the risk was first raised.
She said: “When Kasey was in hospital, it wasn’t a known condition, it wasn’t known that people would react to the vaccine in this way.”
Additionally, she said by June 2021, VITT “had almost disappeared”, thanks to the work of the expert panel and the change in the guidelines.
She added: “I can see that the changes that have been implemented since VITT was identified as such that if someone were to present today as Kasey did, appropriate investigations would be undertaken and appropriate treatment would be administered.”
Addressing Kasey’s family, who were present at the inquest, she said: “There are no words that are adequate to explain the loss of this incredible young lady who I’m sure would have served her community for many years as a paramedic.”
Following Kasey’s death, her family had raised funds for Barnsley Hospital Intensive Care Unit and Yorkshire Ambulance Service in Kasey’s memory.
At the time, her mum posted on Facebook: “I can’t thank the ICU staff enough for the care and support they gave, not only to my beautiful daughter but also to me and our family.
“Truly amazing people.”
According to the British Heart Foundation, 79 people have died from the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.