Thrombosis and vaccines: how worrisome is it? | Coronavirus: Ontario

There are always a lot of worries. My administrator receives an average of 6 calls per day, and maybe more …

Dr. Stephen E. Rubenzal is a Family Clinical and Palliative Care Physician at the Humber River Hospital in Toronto. Over the past few weeks, he said, he has spent at least an hour a day on the phone with patients who are unsure if they want to get vaccinated.

People want to hear it from a doctor. I need to call them to get the COVID-19 vaccine. I know that this is not only me, but also all my colleagues.

The same story with Dr. Mark Carrier, head of the hematology department at Ottawa Hospital. Over the past two weeks, I would tell you that we have received 50 to 100 calls a day from patients or people who are concerned

There are concerns about both actual vaccine intake and possible side effects, he said.

Rare complication

However, according to Dr. Carrier, only one in 100,000 people will have a thrombosis associated with vaccinations. The risks associated with complication are very similar to winning the lottery. he explains. In comparison, the risk of thrombosis after taking birth control pills is 1 in 1000.

Dr. Mark Carrier is a hematologist at Ottawa Hospital. (Archives)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-François Chevrier

Dr. Carrier, who is also the Secretary of Thrombosis Canada, explains that thrombosis is actually a blood clot, venous or arterial. Clots can form in a variety of settings, including after being infected with COVID-19. Patients usually have swelling or shortness of breath.

But the clot associated with the vaccine comes from an immune response. Antibodies will be produced that will bind to platelets. Platelets, important cells in clotting, will want to clump together and form a clot. Patients may notice severe chest pain or persistent headaches. – explains Dr. Carrier.

This scenario is quite rare. Ontario has reported 3 cases of thrombosis associated with the COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to a health ministry spokesman. Thrombosis Canada continues to recommend that all eligible adults receive the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccine, including people who have had a blood clot in the past.

To convince the public, Dr. Carrier wants to be clear: the risks associated with infection and possible hospitalization are greater than the risks associated with the vaccine. When considering the risks and benefits on the scale, the benefits are given priority over the potential risks of the vaccine.

Complications can still occur, as evidenced by the death of this Quebec who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, but in general, patients with vaccine-associated thrombosis recover well.

Fear is very present

I was told that if I get the vaccine, I will have a blood clot. This is the phrase Dr. Basunga Bernard Limbombe, a family doctor from the Windsor area, hears often in his clinic.

My patients have a right to doubt. And it’s my duty to explain– he sums up. The opinion of Dr. Rubentsal, who believes that the foundations of war lie in communication and education: The message should be very clear. Everyone should get vaccinated.

Dr. Samantha Hill, president of the Ontario Medical Association, agrees. She believes that the population needs to be reassured. Try to understand the fear and eliminate it instead of persuading people to get vaccinated. she explains. Family doctors and pharmacists will be the best opportunities to raise awareness among patients who sometimes find it difficult to navigate the pool of information, she said.

With information from Miriam Eddahij

Our story: COVID-19 in Ontario

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