At least 36 people have developed a rare, life-threatening blood disorder, called thrombocytopenia, after receiving either of the two COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the US.
One of them, Miami obstetrician Dr Gregory Michael, died after thrombocytopenia caused his platelets to drop to virtually zero. He was just 56 and died of a brain hemorrhage just 16 days after receiving Pfizer’s shot. And doctors ordered Luz Legaspi, 72, not to leave her bed for over a week, for fear a bump, bruise, fall or other minor injury could lead to a similar hemorrhage and prove fatal for her.
Thrombocytopenia has been seen after other vaccines as well, and experts suspect that the shot does act as a trigger in some way – they just don’t know why yet.
But so far, the platelet-suppressing condition appears exceedingly rare – affecting just 36 people out of 43 million doses administered in the US – and scientists theorize that only a small fraction of the population may have some predisposition that could lead vaccines to trigger the blood disorder.
Of 15 people included in a forthcoming study, only one had a recent history of low platelet counts, and there were no clear common threads that predict who might be the very few to develop thrombocytopenia after vaccination.
But with the exception of Dr Michael, all others so far have recovered after treatment.