PE Ledger

Saturday, December 4, 2021

COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and J&J now carry a warning about autoimmune disorders

Health Canada has updated the labels for the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to include immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), an autoimmune condition, as a potential side effect

In a statement on Tuesday, the agency said very few cases of ITP have been reported after receiving the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines.

Blood platelets are unusually low in ITP, which results in easy or excessive bruising and bleeding.

Some cases occurred in individuals

Post-vaccination ITP has been associated with deaths outside of Canada. Some cases occurred in individuals with a previous history of the disorder.

AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines are both approved for use in Canada and are deemed safe and effective.

If an individual has a history of thrombocytopenic disorders, such as immune thrombocytopenia, the risk of developing low platelet levels should be considered before administering the vaccine, and platelet monitoring should be performed after vaccination.

Rare risk of venous thromboembolism

According to the FDA, there is also a rare risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), a type of blood clotting that begins in the vein, following vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

More than 224,000 Canadians have received two doses of the AstraZeneca Vaxzevria COVID-19 vaccine and more than 9,000 have received the single-shot J&J vaccine.

In March, Health Canada added a warning about blood clots to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine following several reports after immunization.

In June, the agency updated the label for the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Covishield COVID-19 vaccines to also add capillary leak syndrome as a potential side-effect.

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