Jennifer Deason Sprague, a healthy 60-year-old woman from Missouri, died Feb. 21, five months after receiving her second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
In an exclusive interview with The Defender, Richard Sprague said his wife received the first dose of Pfizer on Aug. 29, 2021, and her second dose on Sept. 21, 2021.
Although he remained unvaccinated, Sprague said his wife got the vaccine because she worked for the Perkins Restaurant Corporation, which required employees to get the shot.
“I told her to just lie about it and if they asked for a vaccination card, then she should ask them to make everyone show proof they had the shot,” Sprague said. “She felt bad lying about it, so she went ahead and got it.”
Four days after the second dose, Jennifer experienced her first episode of a “sudden strange event she couldn’t explain,” while she and her husband were at a dinner theater.
“We had just finished our meal and were just visiting. All at once, she said, ‘There is something wrong. Please take me home now. I don’t know what it is and I cannot explain it.’ So we missed the theater and went straight home.”
The following week Jennifer called her doctor and asked if the episode she experienced could be related to the COVID vaccine.
“The doctor said if it was the shot, she would have known it after a couple of hours, not a couple of days,” Sprague said.
Jennifer started having more episodes and her left hand and side began to tremble. On Oct. 13, 2021, Jennifer went back to the doctor, who prescribed Xanax for anxiety.
Over the next few weeks, her symptoms worsened and her left side began to feel heavier than her right side, Sprague said. This continued throughout November and December. Jennifer’s doctor instructed her to stay on the Xanax because he thought it was anxiety.
Jennifer experienced another episode of the “events she couldn’t explain” on Dec. 24, 2021, only this time it was worse, Sprague said. She told everyone she needed to go home and apologized.
Later that evening, Sprague took his wife to the ER, where physicians treated her for anxiety and recommended pills she could take to “get her through the night.” The doctors could find nothing wrong with her, Sprague said.
The next morning, Jennifer went to work at Perkins, as all employees were required to work on Christmas day. But by 10 a.m., Richard got a call to pick up his wife.
“She had a very bad episode at work,” Sprague explained. “She couldn’t hold a tray or pour coffee.”
Sprague found a new doctor. At Jennifer’s appointment on Jan. 5, the physician said she was being over-medicated and stopped everything cold turkey, thinking this would resolve her symptoms, Sprague said.
A follow-up was scheduled for Feb. 10, but Sprague took Jennifer back to the doctor at the end of January because her symptoms were more severe.
“By this time, I’m having to tow her along when we walk. We would go to the mall and walk laps so she was in shape when she would return to work, but around January 23, to look at my wife — if this is Xanax withdrawal I felt I needed someone to encourage me.
“She was having a hard time dressing herself. It would take her two hours to get focused in the morning, and her brain fog was bad. She would lose her train of thought. After 30 minutes or so I’d walk in the bathroom and ask if she was okay and the shower would be cold again. At the time, we laughed about it.”
“When I took Jennifer back to the doctor, they took one look at her and knew something was going on,” Sprague said. Doctors performed blood work and MRIs, but the results came back normal.
“They recommended a neurologist — because something didn’t look quite right — and a psychiatrist to see if it was psychological, which scared Jennifer because she said she wasn’t crazy,” Sprague said. “If this was Xanax withdrawal this thing would be turning around any day.”
“Early that evening something happened in her head. She did not like the neurologist because he wanted her to see the psychiatrist and she started repeating herself over and over: ‘This guy thinks I’m crazy. This guy thinks I’m crazy.’ She started stumbling around. She stumbled trying to get in the car. I called my son to help me and we took her straight home.”
After they arrived home, two of Sprague’s children — an RN and a chemist — came over. They persuaded Jennifer to go back to the ER.
“Doctors immediately did another MRI and admitted her around January 30,” Sprague said.
At the time, Jennifer was still able to sit up and walk independently.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but the neurologist had read the MRI and saw a significant change on the right side of her brain and suspected CJD,” Sprague said. “They didn’t tell me because they wanted to rule out everything else.”
Doctors did more scans of Jennifer’s brain and entire body to rule out infections and cancer. “They said she was a 60-year-old in a 40-year-old’s body,” Sprague said.
At the end of the week, Jennifer’s doctors said they needed to perform a spinal tap, but by this time, she was unable to get out of bed by herself.
“In one week she started regressing so fast it was unbelievable. She was fogged, having a hard time, was seeing snakes on the wall — like she had dementia — and it would only last about three days until that part of the brain was gone. But she never forgot who I was. She always remembered who I was.”
The spinal tap confirmed Jennifer had CJD, a prion disease. A study published last year in Microbiology & Infectious Diseases found a potential link between Pfizer’s COVID vaccine and prion disease in humans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prion diseases are a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect humans and animals. Prion diseases are usually rapidly progressive and always fatal.
The CDC’s website states:
“The term ‘prions’ refers to abnormal, pathogenic agents that are transmissible and are able to induce abnormal folding of specific normal cellular proteins called prion proteins that are found most abundantly in the brain. The functions of these normal prion proteins are still not completely understood. The abnormal folding of the prion proteins leads to brain damage and the characteristic signs and symptoms of the disease.”
Sprague said the doctors hoped Jennifer had the curable autoimmune disorder known as “Brain on Fire,” which is triggered by an attack on one of the key neurotransmitter receptors in the brain.
Brain on Fire mimics CJD but can be cured, Sprague said. So, they “immediately started treating Jennifer for it and giving her steroids, but it made absolutely no difference.”
Insurance quits paying for Jennifer’s care
After Jennifer was diagnosed with CJD on Feb. 12, Jennifer’s insurance company said it would no longer pay for her care and Sprague was told his wife would not recover.
“If I leave her in the hospital it’s out of pocket,” Sprague said. “Otherwise, it’s a care facility or I take her home on hospice.”
“I talked the hospital into allowing her to stay one more day and I suggested they try rehab one more time. But the next day, it was worse. They tried to get her to sit up and to communicate with her, but by then … she could take things in but could not take anything out.”
Sprague made arrangements for hospice care at his home.
“During her final days, she was pretty much in a total coma,” Sprague said. “Although at times she would still try to talk or kiss me.”
“Your brain is just disappearing. It’s crazy. You’re in this perfect healthy body and your brain just dies within the course of a few months.”
Jennifer died at 12:47 p.m. on Feb. 21.
After speaking with The Defender, Sprague said he will be filing a report with the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System — a reporting system for vaccine injuries no one in the medical community told him about.
Sprague said doctors were “totally noncommittal” on whether the Pfizer vaccine caused Jennifer’s CJD, but the nurses became interested in the connection after reading an article in The Defender about Cheryl Cohen, who also experienced rapid-onset sporadic CJD and died within three months of her second Pfizer dose.
Sprague said he wants others to take the risks of COVID vaccines seriously and to understand the consequences of getting the shots.
“Never take one of these shots without full knowledge of what can happen … without full knowledge that this is experimental. This is not just something to run out and randomly do. You’re a guinea pig. Do you want to be a part of that or not?”
“I would take the consequences of not being able to do something because I’m not vaccinated over the risks of the shots,” Sprague said. “If you look at the risks and still choose to take it that’s one thing, but blindly taking it is totally wrong and unconstitutional.”