BEND, Ore. — Monica Melkonian wanted the Johnson & Johnson covid vaccine. It was only one shot and then she would be protected against the virus. So she was thrilled when the vaccination clinic at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center on April 7 had her first choice.
But on April 13, Melkonian started experiencing headaches, a sharp pain behind her left eye. That same day federal health officials announced a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine after learning that six people had developed a rare blood-clotting disorder following their shots.
Despite her ongoing headaches, she and her husband, Stan Thomas, spent the next Saturday working around their home. He hung a ceiling fan in their garage where he works on motorcycles. She spent the day pulling weeds. They walked their lot identifying the projects they wanted to complete that summer. Late into the evening, they soaked in their hot tub, drinking champagne and margaritas, eating strawberry shortcake. They watched the moon rise and the stars come out in the dark Central Oregon sky.
“We were literally talking about how amazing our lives have been and how lucky we were,” Thomas said.
Less than a week later, she was dead.
The 52-year-old woman is one of only nine people in the U.S. known to have died from vacci …