Medical association: Response at Aichi vaccine site was ‘inadequate’ when woman died after receiving COVID jab

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Mitsuaki Maseki, who chairs the Aichi Medical Association, speaks at a press conference in Nagoya on Thursday.

NAGOYA — The response of the medical staff was inadequate in the moments leading up to the death of a woman who had just received a COVID-19 vaccination in Aisai, Aichi Prefecture, this month, according to the Aichi Medical Association.

The association conducted an inquiry into the death and concluded that medical staff should have administered an adrenaline injection to treat anaphylaxis when a 42-year-old woman was suspected of having a severe allergic reaction shortly after receiving the vaccine.

The association identified problems with the health observation system at the vaccination site through its inquiry, the results of which were announced on Thursday.

Ayano Iioka received her fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination center run by the Aisai municipal government on Nov. 5.

Her condition started to deteriorate immediately after receiving a shot of Pfizer Inc.’s omicron BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine after which a doctor and other medical staff administered treatment.

Iioka was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The association on Tuesday held an emergency medical safety committee meeting on the incident. According to the association’s inquiry, Iioka received a shot at 2:18 p.m. She complained of coughing to a nurse and was moved to a first-aid room at 2:25 p.m. A doctor examined her at 2:29 p.m. and administered oxygen because she looked extremely pale, but then she vomited blood. Her heart stopped at 2:34 p.m.

An adrenaline injection was prepared but was not administered because medical personnel could not locate a vein.

At a press conference Thursday, Yoshiro Watanabe, a director of the association, said medical staff should have administered an intramuscular injection of adrenaline as soon as they noticed abnormalities in her condition.

However, he also stressed that Iioka had probably experienced the most severe form of anaphylactic shock. “It’s highly likely that even if the injection had been administered, it would not have saved her life,” he said.

“It would have been best if a nurse had consulted a doctor and administered an injection when Iioka complained of coughing symptoms,” association chair Mitsuaki Maseki told reporters after the press conference.

Iioka’s husband Eiji, 45, also held a press conference in the city on Thursday. “It’s still not entirely clear how my wife died. I want them to conduct an investigation in a satisfactory manner,” he said.

Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura announced Thursday that he had dispatched officials to the city government to inquire about the situation on the day.

The Aichi prefectural government will also interview the doctor who responded to the emergency and report its findings to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.