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Mayo Coroner seeks vaccine trial data from pharma giant Pfizer

Pfizer Ireland is to supply information on C19 vaccine clinical trials to a coroner ahead of an inquest in Co Mayo. 

Coroner for Co Mayo Pat O’Connor is seeking the information as part of his investigations into the death of a teenager post vaccination.

Joseph McGinty (14) of Achill Island, Co Mayo, died on September 13 2021. He received the Pfizer jab at a vaccination centre three weeks prior on August 20.

The Coroner described the death as an issue is of ‘significant public concern’ at the opening of the inquest last November.

At a preliminary inquest hearing at Swinford Courthouse yesterday, the Coroner said he received correspondence from a legal firm representing Pfizer after the company became aware of the boy’s death through a media report.

In follow up correspondence with legal firm McCann Fitzgerald, representing Pfizer Ireland, the Coroner asked seven questions of the pharmaceutical company.

The Coroner submitted his questions to McCann Fitzgerald on December 5 last but has not yet received answers.

“I want to get an overall general view from your client to represent what tests and scientific analysis were done worldwide,” Mr O’Connor said.

Mr Roddy Bourke, of McCann Fitzgerald attended yesterday’s hearing. This is the second hearing concerning the McGinty case, since the inquest opened on November 21 2022.

“I raised a number of questions, seven in total. When do you think you will be in a position to answer?” Mr O’Connor said.

Mr Bourke replied that he expected to be able to issue replies to the Coroner’s questions in three weeks time, ‘subject to the caveat’ that his client has access to the boy’s medical records.

Responding to Mr Bourke, the Coroner said he would like his list of questions to be answered before the medical records are supplied to Pfizer Ireland. The Coroner said he ‘did not want people preparing statements in reaction to’ specific details contained in Joseph McGinty’s medical records.

The Coroner asked for a senior medical clinician to be appointed to prepare a statement on Pfizer’s clinical trials from a general point of view in the first instance and then with specifics relating to Joseph McGinty.

Mr Bourke replied that he would apply his best efforts to the provision of a general commentary on clinical trial data to the Coroner in the next two weeks.

“I am trying to build an overall picture in general in relation to trials,” Mr O’Connor said.

The deceased’s mother Patricia McGinty is preparing her statement for the full inquest, which is likely take place over a two day period.

Barrister for the bereaved Ms Rita Kilroy, said Mrs McGinty had supplied an initial statement to Gardai following the death of her son at home at The Valley, Achill Island last September.

A statement and report from the Consultant Pathologist at Mayo University Hospital (MUH), Dr Fadel Bennani, who conducted the autopsy, will form part of the evidence to be heard at inquest.

Dr Bennani sought a second opinion from Dr Michael McDermott, Consultant Paediatric Histopathologist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

Statements from a number of medics involved in the care of Mr McGinty at MUH will also be finalised ahead of the full hearing. The teen, a second year student, suffered either a reaction or ‘significant medical change’ following the administration of the Pfizer vaccine.

He was hospitalised on September 1 and stayed overnight at MUH before he was discharged the following day. He attended hospital again on September 8 for review.

Evidence from staff working at the vaccination centre where the boy was inoculated will form part of the inquest, together with a statement from the boy’s GP.

The Coroner inquired of Ms Linda Ryan, solicitor for MUH, if any internal or external inquiries had been conducted into Joseph McGinty’s death. Ms Ryan replied that a detailed letter had been prepared for the family and there were ‘a lot of issues to follow up.’

“We are at very early stages on this,” Ms Ryan said.

The Coroner directed that information on reports into the death be made available to him, including the identity of who was preparing the reports, what stage they were at and how long before they would be completed. Mr O’Connor asked for these reports to be to finalised and made available to him and to counsel for the family.

The hearing was adjourned to April 20 for mention at Swinford Courthouse, when a date is expected to be set for the full inquest hearing pending completion of the preparatory work.

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