By Jacqueline Quynh

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – UCHealth has a way to treat patients if they develop blood clots after getting the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Doctors recently published a case study of a Colorado woman who was successfully treated for the rare, but serious vaccine side effect.

“It was a headache that was mostly on the side of my brain,” said Morgan Wolfe, who noticed symptoms six days after she received the J&J vaccine in April. “I was just expecting what all the vaccines have, sort of the next day feeling a little bit flu-ish.”

(credit: Morgan Wolfe)

With a headache that was intensifying, she went to urgent care. The staff treated it as tonsillitis and a sinus infection. She went home, then the symptoms became much worse on Tuesday.

“Was getting ready to go to the ER when I got my phone, put it in my pocket. My Apple news update, the top story, was Johnson and Johnson was being paused,” Wolfe told CBS4.

Once at UCHealth in Aurora, Wolfe underwent CT scans.

“Those revealed small clots in my right lung, as well as a couple different places in my head,” she said.

(credit: Morgan Wolfe)

“We were able to determine that she had the triggers in her bloodstream that would suggest that it comes from the vaccine,” said Dr. R. Todd Clark, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine

Dr. Clark knew the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had warned against standard blood clot medicine to treat the side effect, but no alternative was clear.

“We made the call for Bivalirudin based off of the best available evidence,” Dr. Clark said.

(credit: Morgan Wolfe)

The case study was published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine to help treat others in the future.

“I actually think people knowing about this is a huge success story for the CDC, finding that there are some side effects early,” Dr. Clark said.

With just 17 cases out of millions of shots administered so far, Dr. Clark likens the chances of getting a blood clot to one in a million and believes that blood clot issues can be treated.

Jacqueline Quynh