We have written two versions of Garrett Utting’s story as we are aware that some of our articles can be quite complex. We also know however, that some people prefer to have more detail, in which case go to this version of the article.
This is the story of a healthy young Kiwi man who was dead within 4 weeks of his first covid vaccination. The connection between vaccination and his death has not been investigated by the NZ regulatory authorities.
Garrett Utting was 30 years old when he received his first covid vaccination in November 2021. He did this reluctantly to keep his job and cadetship. He had already lost one job due to lockdowns. His employer and course required him to be vaccinated despite him being young and healthy and working mostly outdoors in apple orchards and vineyards.
Three and a half weeks later his parents were visited by police to tell them he had been found dead on his bed. There was nothing to suggest a cause – no suspicious circumstances, no pills or drugs, no alcohol, no suicide note, no injury and no indication of a seizure.
Pathologist (doctor) and Coroner (lawyer)
Garrett’s parents made the difficult decision to agree to a postmortem examination in order to understand what their son had died from. This was not able to determine a cause of death. However the pathologist, Dr Spark, was apparently able to say with certainty that his death was not due to covid vaccination. Apart from determining there was no myocarditis in the ventricles of his heart it is not clear what other tests were undertaken to conclude this. The covid vaccination is not mentioned at all in her report and neither is any detail of further testing for vaccine components.
Garrett and his family were referred to the Cardiac Inherited Diseases Group (CIDG) on the suggestion of the pathologist as the most common cause of unexplained death is an abnormal heart rhythm. No genetic condition was found, through the thorough testing, that could have contributed to his death.
Nineteen months after his death, Garrett’s family received a report from Coroner Katharine Greig which stated his cause of death was SUDY (Sudden Unexpected Death in the Young).
CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)
Garrett’s father contacted CARM to report his death post vaccination. No-one else (doctor, police, coroner) suggested or did this on Garrett’s behalf. The family waited patiently for answers assuming that investigations were being undertaken and that the pathologist and coroner would be communicating with CARM and an assessment would occur. They wanted to understand whether his death was connected to the vaccination 3.5 weeks prior.
After over 18 mths of waiting they decided to ask some questions. They contacted CARM and heard back from Dr Michael Tatley, Director of New Zealand Pharmacovigilance Centre who advised:
Medsafe and ISMB (Independent Safety Monitoring Board)
Garrett’s parents were disturbed that CARM had not assessed their son’s death. The public messaging was advising that there was robust safety monitoring taking place.
They became aware of a press release from the Ministry of Health in August 2021 following the first official death due to vaccine induced myocarditis. This stated: “All cases with a fatal outcome are referred to the CV-ISMB for review. CARM provides as much information on the case as possible for the clinical experts on the CV-ISMB to help them in their consideration of whether there was a link to vaccination.”
They decided to ask the ISMB what assessment had been undertaken since their son’s case had a fatal outcome.
Medsafe’s Derek Fitzgerald replied stating:
In response to further questions about what processes had been followed, Chris James of Medsafe reiterated that it was the role of the coroner to determine the cause of death and said Garrett’s case was presented to the ISMB and they had the opportunity to discuss the case. He later clarified that they had not taken up this opportunity.
The family applied to ACC for help with funeral costs but were turned down on the basis of Dr Michael Tatley’s report for ACC. His report stated that 4 weeks post vaccination was an exceedingly long time-to-onset for any known vaccine COVID-19 adverse event that could cause death. He also implied that the absence of myocarditis made a death from covid vaccination unlikely.
Dr Tatley, a pharmacovigilance expert, did not refer to any of the causality determining criteria such as WHO, Naranjo or Bradford-Hills to back up his pronouncement and appears to have tossed aside one of the fundamental principles of pharmacovigilance – that the adverse effect or death is due to the medication until proven otherwise. In this case there is a healthy young man, suddenly dead fewer than 4 weeks after a novel medical procedure and extensive investigation has demonstrated no other cause. Previously the vaccine would have been determined causal.
The family have made initial contact with their MP and are hoping to follow up further.
In summary, Garrett Utting was a healthy young man, required by an employer to receive the covid injection which he did reluctantly. Three and a half weeks later he was dead. No cause of death could be determined, and the coroner has stated his cause of death was ‘unascertained natural causes’ and signed him off as SUDY. No investigation has been undertaken into whether the vaccine caused or contributed to his death. He has had no help from ACC.
Garrett’s family have been extremely patient and persistent trying to get answers on behalf of their son.
Sadly, we are aware that there are MANY other similar stories yet to be told.
This was an experimental vaccine. This is inarguable. How is it not?
If Garrett’s story is a reflection of the robustness of our safety monitoring systems, how many other post-vaccine deaths have similarly not been investigated and why?
Who decides which deaths to investigate?
Within what post-vaccination time frame should deaths be investigated – one day, two weeks, 4 months, two years, 10 years, next generation?