ITP Patient Covid-19 Vaccine Survey - Updated Spring 2021 – Initial Findings (1)
This paper reports on some initial findings from the ITP Support Association ITP Patient Covid-19 Vaccine Survey which was updated in February 2021.
Did having the Covid-19 Vaccine have an effect on Platelet Counts?
Probably one of the most asked questions since the rollout of the Covid Vaccine commenced in December 2020 was how it will affect my ITP and in particular my Platelet Count. Hence, we asked people, if they had a platelet count taken before and after their vaccination to let us know the numbers, please note we did not tell people that they must have a count taken, that would have created an issue for the Hospitals, this was for those who already had counts scheduled. observation.
The update covers the 220 people who completed the survey from the end of February 2021 to 12th May 2021. Of that total 41 ITP Patients received a pre and post vaccine Platelet Count, split, almost 50/50 between Pfizer and Oxford Astra Zeneca.
The graphs below show the results of this information.
With the Pfizer vaccine, of the 87 ITP patients who received the vaccine up to 12th May 2021, 20 patients had a pre and post Platelet Count taken. Only two patients (160 – 60, 123 – 4) showed a drop in the Platelet level whilst the rest maintained a stable count.
With the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine, of the 133 ITP patients who received the vaccine up to 12th May 2021, 21 patients had a pre and post Platelet Count taken. In contrast to the Pfizer vaccine results, there was a 50/50 split in Platelet Counts going up and down after the first dose of vaccine with 7 patients showing a drop and 7 patients showing an increase in their Platelet Count. We have classed a significant rise or fall as > than 30.
We do have some results for the Moderna vaccine, but the numbers are currently too small (4 with no before and after counts) to enable any meaningful comparison.
Have you ever tested positive for Covid-19?
A small number of ITP patients in the survey reported that they had tested positive for Covid-19, 2 patients reported that their Platelet level went up after testing positive and 2 patients reported a drop with 1 patient reporting their platelet level remained the same, none of these patients required hospital treatment.
Reported Side effects after the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
Other interesting data from the survey highlighted the variation of side effects reported by patients after receiving their Covid-19 vaccination.
One difference was 22% of patients who received the Pfizer vaccine reported no side effects against only 9% of patients who had the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine.
Both vaccines showed a similar percentage of patients reports Flu like symptoms, Fatigue, Headache and Joint pain. There was one side effect with a marked variation “Sore arm”, 18% of patients reported this with the Pfizer vaccine as against 35% for the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine.
As we pointed out earlier with regards to patient concerns and their Platelet Counts following their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, one of the main questions during the early rollout of the vaccine programme was how will the vaccine effect my ITP? Thankfully, the number of patients who reported an issue with their ITP after their Covid-19 vaccine was exceedingly small, only 1% Pfizer patients and 4% Oxford Astra Zeneca. They reported ITP issues such as bruising, petechiae or having a heavier than normal period after receiving their vaccine. None of these patients required any Hospital treatment.
One patient who did not take part in the survey but contacted the Association by email reported a drop in her Platelet Count with the first vaccine dose but a rise in her count with the second dose.
In a similar study from the USA of 52 consecutive patients 15% had no worsening of ITP symptoms but no count measured.; 73% had no new symptoms and no change in platelet count. However, 12% had a drop in the platelet count but all either bounced back or responded to treatment and the majority were above 30 x109 /L within 3 days. The changes in platelet count occurred independent of remission status, concurrent ITP treatment or vaccine type. (2)
Would you recommend having the vaccine to family and friends?
The results of this question are very encouraging with over 90% saying they would be very likely or likely to recommend having the Covid-19 vaccine to their family and friends.
*The patients who took part in this survey self-reported and did so anonymously.
You can still take part in our Covid Vaccine Survey, visit www.itpsupport.org.uk.
References: (1) Mervyn Morgan, Prof Adrian Newland – ITPSA Survey (2) Dr David Kuter USA Study.