Two nuns in northern Kentucky died after receiving the first dose
of an mRNA-based vaccine against the Wuhan coronavirus. The nuns hailing from a convent in the city of Villa Hills were immunized against COVID-19 earlier in the month. Twenty-six other members of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg who got the jab later tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus.
St. Walburg Monastery Prioress Sister Aileen Bankemper confirmed the incident in a Facebook post. She wrote that 28 sisters "tested positive for COVID-19," but most of them managed to get monoclonal antibody infusions. "Their symptoms are being managed pretty well," the prioress added.
But the vaccination did not bode well for two of their members. Sisters Charles Wolking and Rita Bilz worsened after being immunized and subsequently died on Feb. 3, two days after the vaccination. Both did not show symptoms and had tested negative for COVID-19 before getting the jab. St. Walburg Monastery Sub-Prioress Sister Nancy Kordenbrock said Wolking and Biltz "were elderly and had some health issues," which made them unable to compete with COVID-19.
A third nun initially experienced respiratory problems, but her condition also worsened before eventually dying. Sister Margaret Mary Gough was admitted to the intensive care unit of St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas Hospital after the vaccination. She was among the nuns who tested positive for the coronavirus after the first vaccine dose. Gough passed away Feb. 10 from complications brought about by COVID-19, a subsequent Facebook post by the monastery's page said.
The incident shocked the monastery
, which had closed itself to visitors ever since the pandemic began. Bankemper commented: "We were shocked to have so many [COVID-19] cases since we were being extremely careful." She added that the congregation "redoubled [its] efforts after the [Christmas] holiday surge" in infections. Kordenbrock concurred with her superior, highlighting that the monastery had been "extremely closed down" with the sisters not going outside and the convent not receiving visitors.
Despite this unfortunate event, the remaining sisters are set to receive their second dose of the same vaccine in May. Furthermore, the monastery announced via Facebook that it will be closed
until further notice.
The three nuns join the list of casualties of mRNA coronavirus vaccines
Dr. Stephen Feagins, the public health director of Hamilton County in nearby Ohio, said reactions similar to what the sisters experienced were "actually way more common" than what most would think. In cases where someone experiences side-effects after getting the first vaccine dose, he recommended delaying the second dose. "We consider the 21 days [between the first and second jabs] minimum," Feagins said. (Related: UK government reports over 240 deaths shortly after coronavirus vaccination
It is not known whether the nuns received either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine: Both mRNA vaccines have received emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration
. But a number of fatalities have been linked to these jabs – most especially the Pfizer vaccine as it was the very first candidate authorized for emergency use. (Related: 33 elderly people dead after first dose of coronavirus vaccine
Health workers constituted some of the deaths caused by Pfizer's mRNA vaccine against COVID-19, developed alongside its German partner BioNTech. Dr. Gregory Michael of Miami, Florida died 16 days after getting the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine caused him to develop
idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare autoimmune illness where the immune system attacks platelets that help in blood clotting. Michael passed away as he was scheduled to undergo a last-ditch surgery against the illness.
Radiologic technician Tom Zook of Orange County, California died four days after his second dose
of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. A staunch supporter of vaccination, he posted about his excitement with receiving the second shot – until he complained of abdominal pains and difficulty breathing. Zook's colleagues then admitted him to the emergency room of the same hospital where he worked. He was then transferred to a different hospital after his condition did not improve, eventually dying on Jan. 9.
Lastly, Ohio nursing aide Janet Moore died within 48 hours
of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Moore's brother Jacob Gregory believed that she got the Pfizer jab, which her employer reportedly required. Meanwhile, her neighbors said she had not been feeling well after receiving the shot. Moore reportedly experienced nausea and migraines, which culminated in her being found unresponsive in her car on the last day of 2020.
has more news about fatalities linked to the vaccines against the Wuhan coronavirus