The death of a 37-year-old orthopedic surgeon from Memphis on Monday, Feb. 8, is being touted as one of the nation’s first cases of death after receiving the Covid vaccine.
Dr. J. Barton Williams, who worked for OrthoSouth, died early Monday at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis.
Although an official cause of death has not yet been determined, the results of an autopsy have not been released.
“It is difficult to make sweeping conclusions in any direction when you are talking about something that has not been reported before anywhere,” Baptist infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Threlkeld said. “No one previously has been reported to have this illness (multi-system inflammatory syndrome–MIS) that has also had the vaccine.”
“The COVID-19 (SARS-Cov-2) vaccine is fraught with hazards,” said retired Professor Romeo F. Quijano M.D. “This should be the obvious, rational conclusion of anyone who cares to objectively study the available scientific and other relevant information about it. There are many factual danger signals that are easily discernible.”
“One major safety concern in developing a vaccine is how to get around the danger that the vaccine might actually ‘enhance’ the pathogenicity of the virus, or make it more aggressive possibly due to antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), as what happened with previous studies on test vaccines in animals,” the retired professor at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology College of Medicine, University of the Philippines in Manila warned.
“This serious adverse effect may not even be detected by a clinical trial especially in highly biased clinical trials laden with conflicts of interest involving vaccine companies,” he said. “Even when a serious adverse event is detected, this is usually swept under the rug.”
The syndrome, more common in children, often looks and acts like Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation in the blood vessels.
MIS is a reaction in someone who has had the COVID infection weeks or months earlier and mounted a severe, delayed immune reaction, which often causes significant damage to the organs.
Williams told doctors he was not aware of having had COVID and he tested negative several times in the hospital, according to Threlkeld.
MIS is essentially an unchecked immunological response to the virus, said Dr. Scott Strome, executive dean of the College of Medicine at University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
“The immune system’s response is to eradicate the virus. One of its most fundamental features is its ability to turn itself off when it’s done,” Strome said.
“It has to know when it’s done. If it doesn’t have that, you get an autoimmune situation. Whatever the reason, the body still thinks it has a threat and doesn’t turn itself off. Then you get this systematic inflammation.”
Some drugs might be effective in turning the immune system off.
“No one is going to know enough now to know which drugs to give yet,” Strome said. “That is the challenge.”