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Las Vegas teen fighting for life after receiving J&J vaccine, family friends say

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Posted at 8:10 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 18:38:20-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas teen is in a fight for her life after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to family friends.

Emma Burkey. 18, has been identified by family friends as one of the six cases in the U.S. that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating.

“She started having seizures, then they took her to the hospital, and then they realized she had blood clots in the brain,” says Bret Johnson, a family friend.

Johnson is a friend of the family and says she is in constant contact with Burkey’s parents.

Luckily, her condition is improving.

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“She’s starting to realize what has happened to her, where she is slowly,” says Johnson.

Things weren’t always as promising.

“For a while there her situation and condition were completely unknown, very scary and very iffy honestly,” says Johnson.

Burkey was first treated at St. Rose Hospital in Henderson where she was in an induced coma and on a ventilator.

Later, she was airlifted to Loma Linda Hospital in Southern California where she remains with her family.

Out of the roughly 7 million people who have been safely vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC is investigating six confirmed cases of a rare but severe blood clot disorder that happened after the patients had the shot.

“This situation really rocked us to the core,” says Heiden Ratner, a family friend.

Ratner is the senior pastor at WALK Church where Burkey is in the kid's ministry.

RELATED: Timeline for coronavirus pandemic in Nevada

She also babysits Ratner’s kids.

“We were challenged, we were confused, and it drove us to prayer,” says Ratner.

The community is coming to the rescue of the Burkey family through this GoFundMe which surpassed its $10,000 goal in just four days.