ST MARTIN, Mississippi — Local doctors are treating a man from the Mississippi Gulf Coast who suffered from a stroke not long after getting a COVID vaccine.
At this time, no link has been made to the vaccine, but the CDC is investigating the case.
Brad Malagarie, 43, is the father of seven from St. Martin, Mississippi. Three hours after he had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine he was unresponsive at his desk.
"They called me and said he had that vaccine and something is wrong, we think it's a stroke," said Celeste Foster O'Keefe, Malagarie's aunt and work manager.
O'Keefe said Brad is at Ochsner Hospital now. She tells our sister station WLOX that he had a stroke. There was a blood clot in the main artery that brings oxygen to the brain. His family thinks it was caused by the vaccine.
"He's a young, healthy 43-year-old, and I immediately thought it, and I said be sure to tell the doctors he took that J & J vaccine and that, to me, is what caused his stroke," she said.
She said her nephew does have high blood pressure, which is a known risk factor for a stroke. Brad has been on medication to control it. Thursday, Ochsner said it could not comment on the case because of patient medical privacy.
According to the family, Brad is in critical condition but stable.
"He can't talk now and he can't walk. He's paralyzed on the right side. He knows who we are and he will just cry when he sees us. At least we want him to be able to communicate, to be able to walk and talk again, even if it's not perfect," O'Keefe said.
Both the Mississippi State Health Department, and Tulane vaccinologist Dr. Lisa Morici, point out that Brad's case looks very different than the six cases the CDC is looking into with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. His was a stroke that happened within three hours of getting the vaccine.
Those others were a rare clotting disorder in the brain that happened a week to two after the vaccine, only in women. Ochsner has reported this case to the CDC which will investigate medical records to see if there is any link to the vaccine.
So far, 32 strokes have been reported to the CDC after one of the three COVID vaccines, that is after nearly 200 million doses were given.
By comparison, every year, almost 800,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke.
Karen Abernathy of WLOX-TV contributed to this report.