A Few COVID Vaccine Recipients Developed a Rare Blood Disord
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One day after receiving her first dose of Moderna’s COVID vaccine, a 72-year-old, woke up with bruises on her arms and legs, and blisters that bled inside her mouth. She was hospitalized with a severe case of immune thrombocytopenia — a lack of platelets, a blood component essential for clotting.

The same condition led to the death in January of a 56-year-old, an obstetrician in Miami Beach whose symptoms appeared three days after he received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. It is not known whether this blood disorder is related to the COVID vaccines. The cases involved either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, the only two authorized so far for emergency use in the United States.

But the reporting system shows only problems described by health care providers or patients after vaccination. It does not indicate whether the shots actually caused the problems. Officials with the FDA and CDC said that they were looking into the reports.

In a statement, Pfizer said: “We take reports of adverse events very seriously” and added it was aware of thrombocytopenia cases in vaccine recipients. Moderna also provided a statement, which did not address the question of the platelet disorder but said the company “continuously monitors the safety of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine using all sources of data” and routinely shares safety information with regulators.

Hematologists with expertise in treating immune thrombocytopenia said they suspected that the vaccine did play a role. But they said cases after vaccination were likely to be exceedingly rare, possibly the result of an unknown predisposition in some people to react to the vaccine by developing an immune response that destroys their platelets.

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