COVID-19 Vaccines and Blood Clots, Everything You Need to Know

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  • Experts continue to say blood clots caused by COVID-19 vaccines are a rare occurrence.
  • So far, the clots have appeared in about 5 people for every 1 million vaccinated. The rate among people diagnosed with COVID-19 is 39 per million.

A rare occurrence 

Rare blood clots have also been documented in people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A University of Oxford study reported that the clots occurred in about 5 in 1 million people after their first dose.

The vaccine uses a viral vector technique similar to that of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but it is not approved for use in the United States.

The Oxford study also found that having COVID-19 puts you at risk for rare clots. In the more than 500,000 study participants diagnosed with COVID-19, the clots occurred at the rate of 39 in 1 million.

Where else do they show up?

“Depending on which epidemiologic studies you look at, 2 to 5 people out of a million will have a cerebral sinus thrombosis,” said Dr. Jean M. Connors, an associate professor of medicine in the Hematology Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts.

“I see them in young women who’ve been on oral contraceptives, people who have lumbar punctures, people who are critically ill with infections,” she told Healthline.

All vaccines carry potential side effects, which could be mild or serious in nature.

Of them, blood clots are a rare implication found with COVID-19 vaccines in use right now.

Recent studies have indicated that blood clotting and thrombosis could be potential complications seen with the Oxford-Astrazeneca (Covishield) vaccine, and now, the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine., which is rumored to be soon approved for use in India.

While no clotting incidents have been observed in India, several countries have paused the use of the two vaccines.

Despite medical boards branding the vaccines safe for use, and the possibility of getting a blood clot considered ‘rare’, it can be concerning to think of possible side effects if you have just been vaccinated.

While no clotting incidents have been observed in India, several countries have paused the use of the two vaccines.

According to recent guidelines issued by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), experiencing a pulsating headache could be a common sign of a blood clot in the body, when the blood possibly begins to drain in the brain.

Now, headaches are also a commonly listed side-effect of vaccination. However, what doctors do suggest is that a headache associated with a blood clotting incident is quite symptomatic, more severe in nature, and could be of sudden onset. Mild headache, otherwise associated with vaccination could resolve in a matter of hours and won’t be much of a

What’s the cause?

The New England Journal of Medicine published a letter last week from Johnson & Johnson in which the company said there wasn’t enough evidence to tie its vaccine to the rare blood-clotting condition.

The letter said one case occurred during its clinical trial with more than 75,000 participants. The company says it paused the trial to investigate and found that one participant had antibodies against a platelet factor.

Meanwhile, federal health officials are gathering data to look for the cause of the rare clots associated with the vaccine.

“I have to say it’s highly suspicious that it’s occurring with these two vaccines in the same time frame with the same clinical findings,” Connors said. “So, there is some cause and effect, but we don’t know what.”

“This is not a coincidence… since Moderna and Pfizer are not involved with this but AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are,” Schaffner said. “The AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are made differently than the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna are.”

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