‘He doesn’t know who you are’: Family blames Johnson & Johnson vaccine for man’s stroke.
A father in coastal Mississippi is unable to walk and talk, and his family blames the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
State health officials are skeptical of the link, although they’re investigating.
Either way, the vaccine is on hold nationwide and a family is heartbroken.
It started out as a normal workday for 43-year-old Brad Malagarie from Ocean Springs.
This busy father of seven spent the morning at his D’Iberville office before heading to get a Johnson and Johnson vaccine a little after 12 p.m. He returned to work, and within three hours, co-workers noticed 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. You know, we don’t know,” said Celeste Foster O’Keefe, Brad’s aunt.
Brad was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a stroke. A blood clot had lodged in his left-middle cerebral artery. Celeste, who is also brad’s boss, says the family believes without a doubt that the vaccine caused the stroke.
“He’s a young, healthy 43-year-old, you know, and I immediately thought it. And I said, ‘be sure to tell the doctors, tell the doctors he took that Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” said O’Keefe.
Celeste says Brad’s only health issue before the vaccine was high blood pressure, which was controlled with medication. Now, one week after the vaccine, he’s in critical but stable condition at Ochsner’s Medical Center in New Orleans.
His wife, Cori, is by his side and their families’ lives changed tragically overnight.
“He can’t, you know, talk now, and he can’t walk, and he’s paralyzed on the right side. He does know who you are, and he just cries when he sees you,” said Celeste.
Doctors don’t know Brad’s prognosis for recovery yet but say it will likely take at least a year of rehab after he leaves the hospital.
“But we want him to talk again, and even if he walks, and it’s not perfect, that’s okay,” said Celeste.
And she says, while the news came too late to help her nephew, the family now feels at least a small bit of relief, knowing the j and j vaccine is currently out of circulation.
“If you can help one person, you’ve stopped a world of pain for that whole family. Cause maybe it’s only been a handful of people affected, but when it’s your family, it doesn’t feel like a handful,” said Celeste.