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A Case of Immune Thrombocytopenia After BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination

Eleanor R. King, Elizabeth Towner

(Department of Family Medicine, Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital, Rochester, MI, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e931478

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.931478


BACKGROUND: Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an immune response that destroys platelets and increases the risk of bleeding, which can range from bruising to intracranial hemorrhage. ITP is a known complication of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In the first studies of the BNT162b2 messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine, there were no reports of ITP and the incidence of serious adverse events (AEs) was low overall. Here, we present a case of ITP as a complication of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
CASE REPORT: Three days after receiving a second dose of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, a 39-year-old woman presented with a petechial rash on her trunk, legs, and arms, and fatigue and muscle aches. At the time of her hospital admission, her platelet count was 1000/µL. A peripheral smear showed profound thrombocytopenia. During the course of the patient’s hospitalization, she was treated with 2 units of platelets, 2 infusions of i.v. immunoglobulin, and i.v. methylprednisolone. Her platelet count increased to 92 000/µL on the day of discharge and she was prescribed a tapered dose of oral prednisone. One day later, her rash had resolved and her platelet count was 243 000/µL. The patient recovered completely with no complications.
CONCLUSIONS: ITP should be considered a severe AE of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Knowing the early signs and symptoms of ITP will become increasingly important as more of the population receives this vaccine. Quick diagnosis and management are essential to avoid life-threatening bleeding.

Keywords: Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, acquired, Purpura, COVID-19 vaccine

This paper has been published under Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) allowing to download articles and share them with others as long as they credit the authors and the publisher, but without permission to change them in any way or use them commercially.
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