The AstraZeneca coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine was listed in an interim fact-of-death certificate as one of the possible factors that led to the demise of BBC presenter Lisa Shaw.
Newcastle’s senior coroner Karen Dilks issued the interim fact-of-death certificate, which confirms that an investigation into Shaw’s death will be held and that the “complication of AstraZeneca COVID-19 virus vaccination” is being considered as a possible cause.
Shaw suffered blood clots days after getting first dose of AstraZeneca
Shaw’s family said the 44-year-old was treated for blood clots days after receiving the first dose of AstraZeneca. She died on May 21. The BBC Radio Newcastle presenter was not known to have any underlying health problems.
The interim fact-of-death certificate does not determine a cause of death. The cause of death will only be issued once the investigation has been completed.
“Lisa developed severe headaches a week after receiving her AstraZeneca vaccine and fell seriously ill a few days later,” Shaw’s family said in a statement. “Lisa developed severe headaches a week after receiving her AstraZeneca vaccine and fell seriously ill a few days later. (Related: Eight European nations pause AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccinations after reports of “serious” blood clot.)
Shaw was treated by the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s intensive care team for blood clots and bleeding in her head. She passed away surrounded by her family.
“We are devastated and there is a Lisa-shaped hole in our lives that can never be filled. We will love and miss her always,” the Shaw family said in a statement. “It’s been a huge comfort to see how loved she was by everyone whose lives she touched.”
A spokesperson for UK’s drug regulator Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said: “We are saddened to hear about the death of Lisa Shaw and our thoughts are with her family. As with any serious suspected adverse reaction, reports with a fatal outcome are fully evaluated by the MHRA, including an assessment of post-mortem details if available.”
A distinctive type of blood clot is a known side effect of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. It is called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), which occurs when a blood clot forms in the brain’s venous sinuses. This prevents blood from draining out of the brain. As a result, blood cells may break and leak blood into the brain tissues, forming a hemorrhage.
“Our detailed and rigorous review into reports of blood clots occurring together with thrombocytopenia is ongoing,” the MHRA spokesperson said, adding that the number of cases remained “extremely low.”
The latest MHRA data reveals 332 cases of these blood clots reported, including 58 deaths. Those cases have led to a shift in the vaccination campaign. Ideally, adults under the age of 40 should be given an alternative vaccine, such as those developed by Pfizer or Moderna.
BBC lost “someone special” who meant a great deal to many
Shaw joined BBC Radio Newcastle in 2016 as a daytime presenter. Her voice was well-known in the northeast of England where she had also had a successful career in commercial radio.
Born and raised in County Durham, Shaw began her radio career at Newcastle’s Metro Radio – joining as a journalist before going on to present for the station. In 2004 she moved to Century Radio, where she twice co-presented “Gary and Lisa at Breakfast” alongside Gary Philipson, first in 2004 and again between 2010 and 2014.
Shaw joined BBC Radio Newcastle in 2016, becoming part of the station’s daytime presenting team. From 2020, she presented a weekday show for the station as part of a simplified schedule that was introduced by BBC radio during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2012, she was the recipient of a Sony Gold award for Best Breakfast Show in Britain for the show she presented with Philipson.
Following the announcement of her death, there were tributes from listeners and colleagues.
The BBC described her as a “brilliant presenter” who was “loved by our audiences.” It said: “We’ve lost someone special who meant a great deal to a great many people.”
“She was a trusted colleague, a brilliant presenter, a wonderful friend, and a loving wife and mum,” said BBC Radio Newcastle‘s Acting Executive Editor Rik Martin.
“She loved being on the radio and was loved by our audiences. We’ve lost someone special who meant a great deal to a great many people.”
Chris Burns, head of BBC Local Radio, said: “Lisa was a talented presenter who had already achieved a lot and would have achieved much more.”
BBC presenter Alfie Joey, who announced the death of Shaw on air, described her as kind, calm and full of life. “She was a wife she was a mother, a very special person. She meant a lot to a lot of people, including us. Everyone here is absolutely gutted,” Joey said.
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