State and federal officials are investigating the death of a 58-year-old woman in Virginia, who died hours after receiving the first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Drene Keyes, described as a “gifted singer and grandmother of six,” found herself unable to breathe and began vomiting within a couple hours of being vaccinated, according to media reports. She was rushed to Riverside Tappahannock Hospital, where doctors administered an EpiPen, CPR and oxygen.

Keyes’ daughter, Lisa Jones, told WKTR

“They tried to remove fluid from her lungs. They called it ‘flash pulmonary edema,’ and doctors told me that it can be caused by anaphylaxis. The doctor told me that often during anaphylaxis, chemicals are released inside of a person’s body and can cause this to happen.”

After being vaccinated, Keyes waited the recommended 15 minutes during which she was observed by healthcare workers. 

Jones said her mother had underlying health conditions, was obese, diabetic, and took cholesterol and blood pressure medications, the Daily Express reported. Still, Keyes qualified for the vaccine, and as Jones told WBRZ, her mother “was wanting to protect herself, and it did not turn out that way.”

Jones told WTVR she hopes her mother’s death serves as a warning for people to see their doctors and be pre-screened prior to being vaccinated. She also said: “Why are we allowing people with underlying conditions to be guinea pigs for a vaccine that is still in clinical trials and emergency use?” 

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) own definition, still in the experimental stage. Both contain polyethylene glycol (PEG), known to cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in some people — a fact that Children’s Health Defense Chairman and Chief Legal Counsel, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., warned in a letter and email to Dr. Anthony Fauci and the FDA in September, before the vaccines were approved by the FDA for emergency use in the U.S.

“Drene Keyes believed mainstream media, government health officials, her doctors and Big Pharma that Pfizer’s vaccine was safe and it would protect her,” Kennedy said. “Her faith and trust in those people and institutions may have cost her her life.”

Kennedy pointed out that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines did not undergo long-term safety testing, and that the clinical trials did not prove the vaccines will prevent people from getting COVID, only that they might reduce symptoms.

People with a history of severe allergic reactions were excluded from the clinical trials. However, as The Defender has reported previously, research published in 2016 found that approximately 72% of the U.S. population may have antibodies to PEG. Of the 72% with anti-PEG antibodies, 8% had extremely elevated levels, which is considered a risk for anaphylactic reactions like the one likely experienced by Keyes.  

Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s state vaccine coordinator, told the Daily Express, Keyes’ death is under investigation by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC is also investigating the death of a 56-year-old Florida doctor from a rare autoimmune condition about two weeks after getting his first Pfizer vaccine, and that of a 60-year-old California healthcare worker who died four days after his second injection with the Pfizer vaccine.

In December, the FDA launched an investigation into multiple severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, among healthcare workers who received the Pfizer vaccine.

Earlier this month, California health officials issued a hold on 330,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine after “fewer than 10” people at San Diego’s Petco Park stadium vaccine clinic suffered allergic reactions to the vaccine. Santa Clara County officials lifted the hold on the vaccine lot in question on Jan. 21.

“It is mystifying how a never-before-utilized new vaccine technology that contained a synthetic, non-degradable and increasingly controversial polymer, PEG, known to be associated with adverse immune responses, the development of anti-drug antibodies, and anaphylaxis was allowed to bypass the bedrock of pharmaceutical development and immunological testing during the clinical trials,” said Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, CHD director and president emerita.  

“These well-known safety and efficacy concerns regarding the use of PEG should have been addressed during the early testing of the vaccine before we moved into widespread distribution.”

According to the latest data collected by the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, 690 reports of anaphylactic reactions to either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines were reported between Dec. 14 , 2020, and Jan. 29, 2021. Of those, the Pfizer vaccine accounted for 76% of the reactions, and the Moderna vaccine for 24%.

Last week, the CDC told USA TODAY that based on “early safety data from the first month” of COVID-19 vaccination the vaccines are “as safe as the studies suggested they’d be” and that “everyone who had experienced an allergic response has been treated successfully, and no other serious problems have turned up among the first 22 million people vaccinated.”

Children’s Health Defense asks anyone who has experienced an adverse reaction, to any vaccine, to file a report following these three steps.

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