The family of a Quebec woman who experienced blood clots and died after receiving Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is urging others to keep an eye out for symptoms and seek help right away.
The loved ones of Francine Boyer, 54, issued a statement late Tuesday confirming her identity and that her death occurred on April 23.
Boyer and her husband, Alain Serres, received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on April 9. The family says she then experienced headaches and fatigue in the days that followed.
“She then went to the nearest hospital,” the family said. “Then, as her condition deteriorated, she was transferred to the Montreal Neurological Hospital Institute. Francine died of cerebral thrombosis.”
Her husband did not experience any side effects from the vaccine, according to the statement.
The family is urging anyone who may experience similar symptoms to Boyer’s or any other adverse reactions to immediately call Quebec’s Info-Santé hotline (811) “if in doubt.”
An obituary states Boyer was originally from Saint-Rémi, located about 30 kilometres south of Montreal.
She was the mother of two sons and had two grandchildren. The family will hold a small ceremony in May to commemorate Boyer’s life and ask for privacy as they grieve.
Boyer is believed to be the first person to have died in Canada after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Authorities stressed serious side-effects are rare and the vaccine saves far more lives than it endangers.
Health Minister Christian Dubé said on Tuesday the province is currently investigating four cases of serious complications out of some 400,000 people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Health Canada has given the green light for the AstraZeneca vaccine for people who are 18 and older after concluding it is safe and effective despite evidence suggesting it may cause blood clots in rare cases. Meanwhile, a national advisory panel has suggested the shot can be offered to those 30 and over if they don’t want to wait for a different vaccine.
Quebec is administering the vaccine to people between the ages of 45 and 79.
Dr. Horacio Arruda, director of Quebec’s public health department, said Tuesday the province will continue that strategy.
— With files from Global News’ Alessia Simona Maratta and The Canadian Press