A Mayo coroner has said the death of a young boy shortly after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine is a matter of “significant public concern” and that an inquest would facilitate “considerable investigation into the vaccine, the effects of the vaccine and also the effects of the vaccine” on the boy.
Joseph McGinty, from Achill Island, Co Mayo passed away at home on September 13 2021. The inquest heard that the 14-year-old boy died three weeks after receiving the Covid 19 vaccine.
The McGinty family had been ‘left in the dark’ the family’s barrister Rita Kilroy said at the hearing.
A request for safety information from Covid 19 vaccine manufacturer Pfizer is to form part of the ‘considerable investigation’ to be conducted into the boy’s death.
He had received the Pfizer vaccine on August 20 2021.
The inquest into his death was opened and adjourned at Castlebar Courthouse, Co Mayo earlier this week.
The teen suffered either a reaction or ‘significant medical change’ following the administration of the vaccine, the inquest heard.
He was hospitalised on September 1 and stayed overnight at Mayo University Hospital (MUH) before he was discharged the following day. He attended hospital again on September 8 for review.
Family members held hands as the inquest into the teen’s death got underway.
Their barrister, Rita Kilroy, said they had been “left in the dark” and asked for the case to be adjourned to allow for a review of medical reports including GP and hospital reports.
“They are very much in the dark at the moment as to where things stand and we are in excess of a year down the line from the death, it seems quite a sad situation that they are in the dark at this stage,” Ms Kilroy said.
There is a review underway at MUH that the family wish to see once finalised, Ms Kilroy said.
“Also there are issues arising in circumstances where we would ask the Coroner to make a request for vaccine safety information and GP records and procedures and guidelines that related to treatment of Mr McGinty in Mayo University Hospital in the days prior to his death,” Ms Kilroy said.
The death was described by Mayo Coroner Pat O’Connor as an issue is of ‘significant public concern’.
“At this stage there is no causal connection between the administration of the vaccine and Mr McGinty’s death, that’s a matter that will be determined by evidence from those who give evidence before me at the inquest but it seems to me there is a matter of significant public concern to warrant an investigation and the opening of an inquest,” Mr O’Connor said.
“The circumstances of Joseph McGinty’s death is that covid vaccination was administered to him. That there appears to have been either a reaction or a significant change in his medical circumstances following the administration of the vaccine and that subsequently unfortunately, Master McGinty died,” Mr O’Connor said.
Patricia McGinty formally identified her son’s remains on the day of his death but ‘has very little recollection of the morning in question’ Ms Kilroy said.
The inquest requires ‘considerable investigation into the vaccine, the effects of the vaccine and also the effects of the vaccine on Master McGinty,’ the coroner said. As a result, the inquiry could take ‘months or possibly years’ to conclude its findings, Mr O’Connor said.
Ms Kilroy made an application on behalf of the family for legal aid and asked that the medical cause of death not be presented in court until after reviews of medical reports have taken place.
Coroner Pat O’Connor clarified that legal aid in such circumstances is significantly different from legal aid as it is administered in the district or higher courts.
“The application is made to the Coroner who then must decide whether the criteria is complied with. It is not the Coroner that grants legal aid, but the Legal Aid Board,” he said.
The Coroner clarified the criteria under which the application for legal aid was made under the Coroner’s Act section 60 subsection 5 paragraph (h), given what he described as the ‘unusual circumstances’ pertaining to the McGinty case.
“Part (h) applies when the Coroner is of the opinion that the death of the deceased occurred in circumstances the continuance or possible recurrence of which will be prejudicial to the health or safety of the public, or any section of the public such that there is a significant public interest in the family member of the deceased person being granted legal aid or legal advice, or both, for the purposes of the inquest concerned,” Mr O’Connor said.
Ms Kilroy applied to adjourn all other matters of the inquest, including the findings in relation to the cause of death, pending the outcome of the legal aid application.
Consultant Pathologist at Mayo University Hospital Dr Fadel Bannani met with the family after the hearing to discuss the findings of the autopsy with them. The coroner granted certification for the request for legal aid and adjourned the inquest for further mention at Swinford Courthouse, Co Mayo on December 20.