New treatment used to care for Denver woman who developed blood clots after J&J vaccine

Morgan Wolfe.jpg
Posted at 4:51 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 11:20:09-04

AURORA, Colo. — Nearly one in a half-million was Morgan Wolfe’s chances of developing blood clots after receiving the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

"I'm definitely curious as to the cause because it’s a super rare occurrence," said Wolfe.

State health officials tell Denver7's Gary Brode there’s been eight reports of blood clotting following the J&J vaccine in Colorado. Wolfe got her shot the first of April. About a week later is when she started feeling the effects.

"Suddenly in the afternoon I just all at once felt a headache and chills and body aches," said Wolfe.

A week later, on April 13 as her symptoms got worse, Wolfe said she was on her way to the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital Anschutz ER when the news of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine broke: The CDC was suspending use of the vaccine for investigation into dangerous — but rare — blood clots.

"I feel like there’s this sort of little blip of being fortunate in an unfortunate situation" Wolfe told Denver7.

Doctors immediately ran extensive tests.

"We did a CT scan that showed a clot in the brain and a clot in the lungs," said UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital assistant medical director Dr. Todd Clark.

Only days earlier, the CDC released new information telling doctors not to use the blood thinning medicine heparin, typically used for blood clots.

"The thought was heparin was more likely to make it worse in this clotting situation than others, therefore let’s play it safe and try something different," said Dr. Clark.

Dr. Clark and his team at UCHealth chose the drug bivalirudin.

"At the time when she (Wolfe) showed up, there was no guidance, no published cases of how to do this without heparin," Dr. Clark Explains.

Weeks later, the CDC published a study with twelve cases of treating patients with the rare blood clots. In two of the cases, bivalirudin was used.

Wolfe was treated with the same drug and it worked. After six days in the hospital, she was able to go home.

She still has headaches but said she is feeling better and added she would still get vaccinated if she could do it all over again.

"Yes, I would still get vaccinated, just given the knowledge that I have now, I would choose Moderna or Pfizer," said Wolfe.