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COVID-19 and Vaccine Blood Clot Side Effects

Since the emergence of the blood-clotting side effect caused by the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Vaccines, researchers have been working tirelessly to discover the cause, rate of occurrence, severity of the cases, and how to adjust the vaccines to reduce or eliminate this side effect. Thus far, experts have said that this reaction has happened in 5 of every 1 million people vaccinated.

This rare blood-clot has caused strokes in those who received the vaccine associated with this side effect resulting in a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, AKA a blood-clot which occurs in the arteries which supply blood to the brain; Blood clots can also appear in the abdomen as well. Dr. Jean M. Connors also stated that they have observed that those on oral contraceptives, those who have had lumbar punctures, and those who care critically ill with infections have had these reactions. 

Another common occurrence to those who have experienced this side effect is they all had extremely low platelet counts, confirmed anti-PF4 antibodies, and raised D-dimer which is linked to clotting. Studies have also shown that getting COVID-19 can also induce these blood clots as well. 

According to researchers, there are parts of the spike protein DNA coming from the adenovirus used in their vaccines which are split apart and thus create mutant versions that are unable to bind to the cell membrane where immunization takes place. This mutant protein then is able to move around, unbound, which eventually can induce blood-clotting. Researchers are currently trying to find out ways to modify the vaccine in order to combat this reaction—they believe that by modifying the gene sequence for the spike protein codes, they can prevent the splitting which happens. Overall, this is their current hypothesis on the situation.

This reaction has been seen to be less common with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in comparison to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Johnson & Johnson’s statement regarding their research was “we are supporting continued research and analysis of this rare event as we work with medical experts and global health authorities. We look forward to reviewing and sharing data as it becomes available.” AstraZeneca has yet to make a statement. 

Because this vaccine is not the same type as the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine (they employ the use of mRNA technology), this blood-clotting reaction has not been observed with those who were administered them.

Doctors and experts are still recommending people get vaccinated regardless of this side effect due to its rare occurrences and due to the fact that this can also happen during a COVID-19 infection. They still deem an infection worse than the possibility of contracting COVID-19 and encourage those who wish to get vaccinated to look at all their vaccine options in accordance with their health and desires. If receiving any vaccines, doctors recommend that you keep an eye on any reactions you have and to seek emergency medical attention immediately if you are having any type of adverse reaction. 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/everything-you-need-to-know-about-covid-19-vaccines-and-blood-clots#Whats-the-cause?
https://www.ft.com/content/f76eb802-ec05-4461-9956-b250115d0577
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/26/german-scientists-say-they-can-help-improve-vaccines-to-prevent-blood-clots
https://www.mayocliniclabs.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/86533