Brad Malagarie, 43, of St. Martin, Mississippi, was admitted to a hospital in Louisiana following a stroke. (Related: New Jersey man in critical condition with coronavirus less than a month after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.)
"[His family] called me and said he had that vaccine and something is wrong, we think it's a stroke," said Malagarie's aunt, Celeste Foster O'Keefe. According to her, Malagarie, a father of seven, was a young and healthy man. He took blood pressure medication but had no other significant health concerns that could explain the stroke.
"He can't talk. He can't read. He can't write. He can't really put everything together yet."
O'Keefe said that Malagarie first experienced adverse effects while he was at work. He informed his co-worker that his arm was in pain but this was shrugged off as a normal post-vaccination symptom.
About an hour after this, he fell unconscious and was rushed to the hospital.
O'Keefe and other members of Malagarie's family are certain the Johnson & Johnson vaccine caused his stroke.
"He didn't jump out of a plane that day. He didn't eat anything different. He took the vaccine," said O'Keefe. "That was what I think was the contributing factor for him having the stroke."
"We want him to be able to communicate, to be able to walk and talk again, even if it's not perfect," she added.
O'Keefe reported Malagarie's stroke to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. His doctor has not ruled out the possibility that the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine caused the stroke.
As of press time, Malagarie was stable but still in critical condition in the neurological intensive care unit of the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.
He is paralyzed on his right side but is able to eat and drink with support. His family says he needs at least one year of therapy and rehabilitation before he can return to his old self.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), Malagarie's case is different from the other blood clotting incidents connected to the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.
"The Mississippi State Department of Health is saddened to hear about the recent illness of Mr. Malagarie and wishes him well," wrote Liz Sharlot, a spokesperson for the MSDH. "The Agency is certainly investigating the situation. It is difficult, if not impossible, to assign cause and effect at this time."
Sharlot pointed out that strokes are not associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. She added that severe adverse reactions to the vaccine usually occur between six and 13 days after its administration, not within hours.
"Of the six noted cases [of blood clotting], all are women between the ages of 18 and 38," continued Sharlot. "Yesterday, the Mississippi State Department of Health paused all administration of the [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine until further guidance from the [Food and Drugs Administration]."
As of Monday, April 12, nearly 7 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the United States. Health officials have stressed on multiple occasions that the risk of developing blood clots is very low. These statements have frustrated O'Keefe.
"So, it's really upsetting when you hear them say it only happens to a few people," said O'Keefe. "Yeah, it's a few people, until it happens to your own family."
Learn more about the dangers associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, such as blood clotting, by reading the latest articles at Vaccines.news.