French family files case over woman’s death after AstraZeneca jab

The family of a French woman who died of a blood clot at the age of 38 after receiving the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has filed a complaint with prosecutors, a lawyer said on Friday.

French family files case over woman's death after AstraZeneca jab
A family has filed a complaint over a French woman's death. Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

The complaint was filed “against X” – not targeting any individual or entity at this stage – a practice allowed in France when the circumstances of a case are still unclear.

The aim of filing the complaint with prosecutors in the south-west city of Toulouse is to “obtain an investigation”, the French family’s lawyer Etienne Boittin told AFP.

“It is a complaint ‘against X’, because we have no element against a named person for manslaughter,” said Boittin, adding that this “classification can evolve” as the case develops.

The family of the woman, a social worker, “is not in a process of claiming or seeking responsibilities but simply wants explanations and clarifications on what happened,” he added.

The woman – who was vaccinated in mid-March due to her work at a centre with disabled people – did not suffer from any particular health problem, added Boittin.

Her health deteriorated shortly after vaccination and she was hospitalised. She died on March 29 of a blood clot on the brain.

“The objective of this complaint is to obtain an additional investigation – in particular an autopsy within a medico-legal framework – so we can know if this vaccine could have had a causal role in her death”, added the lawyer.

READ ALSO: Europe’s slow vaccine rollout is ‘prolonging the pandemic’ as infections surge

France and several other European countries resumed AstraZeneca vaccinations last month after briefly suspending the product over reports of blood clots in a small number of people who had the jab.

The French medicines regulator recommends the vaccine for those aged 55 and over after reports of blood clots in younger people.

The vaccine commission in neighbouring Germany said this week it recommended use of the jab only for people 60 and over.

The vaccine has been backed by the World Health Organisation and the EU’s drugs regulator, which have said there was no evidence of a link to an increased risk of blood clots.

READ ALSO: AstraZeneca vaccine ‘safe and effective’ against Covid-19, European Medicines Agency concludes

The same lawyer is also representing the family of a French medical student who died days after he received AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine in the western city of Nantes.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation into that case while emphasising that no link had been established yet with the jab.

Member comments

  1. This is just bad luck, don’t do so difficult, we accept that a few healthy people wil ‘give’ their lives for the greater good. That’s what they tell us!
    I am happy to see more written about those poor women, who were very unlikely to have died of covid themselves. Oh a very small risk, until it is your mother, colleague, friend. I do not find this acceptable, it’s not one or two cases, by now quite a few and they won’t be last.
    Do not forget this is a short term side effect, what will be the long term ones? just wondering……..

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Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).