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At Least 25 Vaccinated People Died of COVID-19 in Milwaukee County Since August 2021: Medical Examiner

“We have yet to see a death that can be tied to the vaccine” -Karen Domagalski of the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office

At least 25 vaccinated people died of COVID-19 since August 2021, according to data that Wisconsin Right Now obtained from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office.

In each of those cases, the people had serious co-morbidities. They also were elderly in most cases. A 26th person died before August.

A total of 201 people died of COVID-19 in the same timeframe according to the medical examiner. This means at least 12% of all people who died of COVID-19 were vaccinated. It should be noted that the medical examiner doesn’t always know the vaccination status of the other people.

The death of the fully vaccinated Colin Powell, who had COVID-19 as well as serious co-morbidities (blood cancer, Parkinson’s Disease), has placed the question of vaccinated people dying with COVID into the national conversation. As a result, we decided to take a look at how many vaccinated people had died with COVID-19 in Milwaukee County.

Wisconsin Right Now obtained an Excel spreadsheet from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office that lists every death from March 2020 through mid-October 2021, in which the medical examiner ruled the cause of death was primarily from COVID. (We explore how that’s determined, and the percentage of people who also had serious co-morbidities, in our second story in this series, coming tomorrow).

In this story, we’re taking a look at how many vaccinated people have died with COVID being listed as a primary cause of death. We first requested the Excel sheet after the Medical Examiner started tweeting out breakdowns of COVID deaths among the vaccinated and unvaccinated. We thought that was interesting and wanted to know more.

“Lately, if we have vaccination information, I list as much as possible in the ‘other significant condition’ section – the vaccine type and dates if available, or at least, ‘vaccinated’ if there is no other information. Just trying to create an accurate record for future use…” the Chief Medical Examiner of Milwaukee County, Brian Peterson MD, told Wisconsin Right Now.

We found 25 cases in Milwaukee County since August 12 and one before that in which people died of COVID despite having the vaccine, although the Medical Examiner’s office doesn’t believe they died of the vaccine; as with almost everyone else who perished with COVID-19 listed as the primary cause, they had other extensive ailments. Cardiac problems, pulmonary disease, and renal failure made the list.

“We have yet to see a death that can be tied to the vaccine,” said Karen Domagalski, the operations manager for the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office.

The people who died despite getting the vaccine range in age from 44-91. To be clear, that doesn’t mean they died from the vaccine; all of the people had extensive co-morbidities, which is true of almost everyone who has died of COVID-19 in Milwaukee County since March 2020. Obviously, as more and more people become vaccinated, more and more people who happened to have the vaccine will die of other things. The 26 people, though, died with COVID-19 being listed as the primary cause.

Their vaccine status is listed under “cause other” in the Medical Examiner’s spreadsheet. “Most of the time their vaccination status is unknown,” Domagalski said. The sheet does not list whether people are unvaccinated. It also does not always list whether a person is fully vaccinated or only had one shot.

Over 54 percent of Milwaukee County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but there’s a big racial disparity, with 63% of Asians being vaccinated compared to 56% of whites, 50% of Hispanics and only 37% of blacks.


Vaccinated People Died of COVID-19:

The first reference to the vaccine in the Medical Examiner’s spreadsheet comes on May 16, 2021, with the death of Rapheal D. Cole, 54, a black male.

The medical examiner’s spreadsheet reads, “Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Received first dose of Pfizer vaccine on 4/20/21.”

The next time vaccine is listed is in mid-August 2021. There are 25 deaths since then in which people were listed as vaccinated. There are details not known; whether all were fully vaccinated, and which vaccine type is not listed for everyone. Also, in many cases vaccine status is not known, so, if vaccine status is not listed, that doesn’t mean the person was unvaccinated. However, for 26 people in the sheet, vaccine status was listed.

In addition to Cole, they are:

Elwood Orr, 81, a black male who died on Aug. 12, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Chronic congestive heart failure, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, atrial flutter, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic renal failure, COVID vaccination Feb/Mar 2021

Marion Buerger, 87, female, died Aug. 15, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Dementia, vaccinated (1-12-21, 2-9-21) with Moderna vaccine.

Susan G. Winsten, 71, white female, died Aug. 17, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronvirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, renal transplant (1-2020), COVID vaccinations 1-26-21 and 2-18-21.

Liou Rasavong, 78, Asian female, died Aug. 17, 2921.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, chronic renal failure, “fully vaccinated.”

Susan Kathryn Schneider, 78, white female, died Aug. 24, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: End stage renal disease, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; 1st dose Moderna COVID vaccine received 3/21.

Lorraine Ann O’Malley, 74, white female, died Aug. 27, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Acute myelogenous leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus. Received Pfizer COVID vaccine 2/3 and 2/24/21. According to her obituary, she was an electrical tester at Allen-Bradley who taught mathematics at Alverno College and had multiple sclerosis.

Tammy D. Thompson, 48, black female. Died Sept. 8, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Asthma, diabetes mellitus, cardiomyopathy, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, received COVID vaccine 8/31.

Roosevelt Redmon, 90, black male, died Sept. 9, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, hypertensive and atherosclerotic coronary vascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, Pfizer vaccination x2.

Mauricio Espino, 55, white male, died Sept. 9, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Vaccinated (1 dose) 3/21.

Sandra K. McFarland, 59, black female, who died on Sept. 12, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Diabetes mellitus, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, vaccinated 3-19-21 with Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.

Colleen Lynn Borowski, 44, white female, died Sept. 15, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Diabetes mellitus, obesity, hypertension, hypothyroidism, vaccinated (COVID) May 2021.

Victor Richard Jones, 91, white male, died Sept. 13, 2021. He owned and ran Victor’s tavern in Milwaukee, according to his obituary.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Chronic congestive heart failure, coronary atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation, chronic renal failure, pulmonary hypertension, fully vaccinated (Pfizer).

Ernesto D. Romero, 65, Hispanic male, Died Sept. 18, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Colon cancer, chronic congestive heart failure, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, “fully vaccinated” (unknown dates).

Mark James Giese, 56, white male, died Sept. 19, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis on immunosuppressive therapy, vaccinated.

Royal Steven Radtke, 76, white male, died Sept. 22, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Dementia, stroke, chronic congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic renal failure, stroke, received Pfizer COVID vaccine Jan 2021.

Rosemary Christine Morrison, 90, white female, died Sept. 21, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Stroke, chronic congestive heart failure, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, hypothyroidism, Moderna vaccine administered 1/5 and 2/2/21.

Eunice C. Goronja, 95, white female, died Sept. 27, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Leukemia, chronic congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, received Pfizer vaccine 2/19 and 3/12/21.

William J. Wojak, 79, white male, died Sept. 28, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: End stage renal failure (transplant 2006), stroke, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, Moderna vaccine 1/30 and 2/27/21.

Norvell Ashley Molex, Sr., 74, black male, died Oct. 1, 2021

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Dementia, follicular lymphoma, seizure disorder, strokes, received Pfizer vaccine 1/30 and 2/24/21.

Lucy M. Harris, 92, black female, died Oct. 2, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Chronic congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, “fully vaccinated”.

Jose Ayala, 67, Hispanic male, died Oct. 4, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Diabetes mellitus, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, overweight, received Pfizer vaccine 7/7 and 7/28/21.

Edward Donald Wieting Sr., 69, white male, died Oct. 2, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Hepatic cirrhosis, cholangiocarcinoma, primary sclerosing cholangitis, hypertension, vaccinated (Pfizer) 1/26 and 2/16/21.

Brian Gorzalski, 71, white male, died Oct. 4, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Diabetes mellitus, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, fully vaccinated (Pfizer).

Tracey M. Thomas, 52, black female, died Oct. 6, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Chronic congestive heart failure, non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, end stage renal failure, diabetes mellitus, vaccinated (Janssen) – date not specified.

Arthur Augustine, 70, black male, died Oct. 6, 2021.

Cause A: Complications of infection with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); Cause Other: Hypertension, atrial fibrillation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, end stage renal failure on dialysis, “fully vaccinated”.

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