Evans, 68, of Effingham, Kansas, died March 24, 2021, one day after receiving Moderna’s COVID vaccine in Jefferson County.
According to the autopsy report, obtained from the Shawnee County coroner’s office through a Kansas Open Records Act request, Evans said her airway felt blocked about 15 to 20 minutes after she received her first dose on March 23, 2021.
She was taken by ground ambulance at 5:21 p.m. to Stormont-Vail hospital, where she died at 11:55 a.m. the next day.
Evans had a medical history of hypertension, environmental allergies, allergic disorders and reactive airway disease. She previously experienced an anaphylactic reaction to the drug Albuterol, the report said.
According to Mayo Clinic, anaphylaxis is a “severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction” that can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website states anaphylaxis after COVID vaccination is rare and occurs in approximately five people per 1 million vaccinated in the U.S.
According to the most recent data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System — co-managed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC — there have been 2,300 reports of anaphylaxis following COVID vaccines, where the reaction was life-threatening, required treatment or resulted in death.
Colt Umphenour, one of Evans’ sons, said the family plans to file a lawsuit.
“I am actively looking for a new attorney to represent the family,” Umphenour said.
Members of Evans’ family last April hired Lynn Johnson, of the law firm Shamberg, Johnson and Bergman in Kansas City, Missouri. But Johnson told the Topeka Capital-Journal on Tuesday he chose not to pursue legal action on their behalf.
Vaccine makers exempt from liability for injuries caused by their products
As The Defender reported July 8, 2021, under federal law, vaccine makers are shielded from liability, leaving people who are injured by COVID vaccines and their family members with little recourse.
In 2005, Congress passed the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP), which authorizes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue a declaration providing immunity from tort liability for claims of loss caused by medical countermeasures (e.g., vaccines, drugs, products) against diseases or other threats of public health emergencies.
On Feb. 4, 2020, HHS invoked the PREP Act when it declared COVID-19 to be a public health emergency.
On Jan. 21, 2021, HHS amended the act, extending the liability shield to include additional categories of qualified persons authorized to prescribe, dispense and administer COVID vaccines authorized by the FDA.
In exchange for immunity for vaccine makers, under the PREP Act, the federal government pledged compensation for adverse reactions to COVID treatments and vaccines through a program called the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), run by HHS.
The CICP in December 2021 approved its first COVID countermeasure claim, one of 65 claims related to anaphylaxis and anaphylactic reactions following COVID vaccines. The claim is pending review of eligible expenses.
The CICP website outlines the parameters of the program, which provides compensation for medical expenses, lost employment income and survivor death benefits as “the payer of last resort,” covering only what remains unpaid or unpayable by other third parties, such as health insurance.
Under the CICP program, attorney fees are not covered. There is no court, judge or right to appeal.