J&J vaccine not linked to death of college student from Columbus, coroner says

Ohio

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Hamilton County Coroner spoke out Friday against speculation that the death of a 20-year-old college student from Columbus was caused by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for COVID-19.

John Foley, a medical student at the University of Cincinnati, died Sunday, one day after he received the vaccine. Social media posts in the days since have speculated that his death was linked to the shot. But after reviewing the results of Foley’s autopsy, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco decided to directly address those rumors.

“At this point in time, we don’t have any evidence to indicate that the vaccine was directly related to his death, and we are looking at all the different factors and to see if there was an indirect connection or not,” said Sammarco, the Hamilton County Coroner. “But at this point, we don’t have any evidence.”

Sammarco is still awaiting the results of other tests and medical records so she can learn more.

On Tuesday, the J&J vaccine was taken out of circulation in the United States as health officials study the link between it and blood clots in six women out of the 6.8 million people who had received it across the country. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was a single-dose option, compared with the two-shot options from Pfizer and Moderna, and Ohio was using it in a program to vaccine its college students before the end of spring semester.

Foley’s parents, John and Mary Beth Foley of Columbus, released a statement this week about their son’s death and also said they would not be speaking with the media.

“Our beloved son John Francis Foley is gone, and our family mourns the loss of this wonderful and sweet joy of our lives,” the statement read. “While the facts remain unclear how he died, we are rejoicing in how he lived: caring for others, lit with God’s grace, and generous to all. We know the doctors involved are doing their best. We must be patient, and we ask everyone else to be patient, too. John was going to be a doctor, so this is what he would want. We understand many want to know more about his death — we do, too — but we ask people to understand that this is the time for our family to grieve in private. Thank you.”

Foley was laid to rest Friday in Columbus.

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