Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine linked to rare blood disease - Israeli study

A spokesperson from Shamir Medical Center stressed that the study of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine's connection to a rare disease should not deter vaccinations.

An illustrative photo of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
An illustrative photo of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has been linked to an increased chance of developing thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a rare blood disorder, Israeli researchers said Monday.
TTP is an autoimmune disease that causes blood clots to form in various organs of the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, these clots can limit or block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to key organs like the brain, kidneys and heart, resulting in serious health problems.
Researchers from the Institute of Hematology at Shamir Medical Center said they were alerted to the problem after seeing a sudden increase in TTP in the country – four cases detected in one month compared to two or three cases per year.
The medical team said they found a “chronological connection” between the vaccination of the patient and the onset of symptoms of the disease. They stressed that these are both new patients and patients whose disease flared up after a long period of remission.
The Health Ministry is currently evaluating the research and until the evaluation is complete, the doctors were asked not to interview.
As a result of their research, the medical team, led by Dr. Maya Koren-Michowitz, head of the Hematology and the Translational Hemato-Oncology Laboratory, recommended that people who have had TTP only get vaccinated with special permission from their doctor – and if they do vaccinate, to have a follow-up clinical evaluation.
“Physicians and patients need to be alert to the clinical symptoms: weakness fatigue, neurological disorders, hemorrhage and chest pain,” the team said in a release.
They also called on “healthy people” who are vaccinated to be vigilant and seek medical help immediately if symptoms appear. Early diagnosis and modern treatments have increased TTP patient survival rate from 10% in the past to 80% today.
A spokesperson from the hospital stressed that this study, which was very small, should in no way deter people from vaccinating and encouraged anyone who has not yet been inoculated to get the jab.