Blood clot Image: Pexels
Blood clot Image: Pexels

What we know about Covid-19 and blood clotting

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Apr 15, 2021

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A rare blood clot was found in six women in the US after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

One woman died and one remains in critical care.

The women, between the ages of 18 and 48, had a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) blood clot, which is when there's a blood blockage in the brain channels.

On Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended a pause on the issuing of the vaccine over “potentially dangerous'” blood clotting concerns.

Health Minister Zweli Mhkize announced on the same day that the roll-out part of the Sisonke Implementation study would be halted.

The CVST rare blood clot, according to WebMD, forms in the venous sinuses in your brain and the clot can block the blood in your brain from draining out toward your heart.

The FDA said people who have received the J&J vaccine who developed severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.

Professor Resa Pretorius, head of the Department of Physiological Sciences at Stellenbosch University, has conducted a study on how blood clotting and inflammation could implicate Covid-19 disease severity.

Pretorius said the CVST blood clot is extremely rare and that the six women out of the 6.8 million people who have received the vaccine is a very small percentage.

“We definitely know that acute Covid causes major clotting issues for the patients.

“Only six females out of millions of people who received the vaccines were affected.

“It must be taken into account that these females might have had other health issues with regards to clotting – from taking the pill to genetic predisposition or other underlying comorbidities,” she said.

While there have been some vaccine complications recently, Pretorius said the bottom line was that vaccines had more positive effects than negative.

“The number of people that suffer from severe health effects after contracting Covid, far outweigh the negative effects of taking the vaccine,” she said.

In the Sisonke Implementation study, where the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was administered to healthcare workers in the country, some thromboembolic events were recorded.

In a press release, the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) revealed that a thromboembolic event is when a clot breaks off and travels to another part of the body to block a blood vessel.

“Thromboembolic events have been reported rarely following administration of several Covid-19 vaccines.

“It is important to note that thromboembolic events are a common complication of Covid-19 infection, are associated with other commonly used medications including contraception, and with comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as smoking,” says the release.

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