In early May the JCVI advised a preference for adults aged 30 to 39 to receive an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (that advice for the under 30s having come in early April) following rare cases of clotting events.
Medics had started meeting regularly and comparing notes to discuss these rare cases as soon as questions first started to be raised about whether they could be linked to the vaccine, and in the UK formed the Expert Haematology Panel. In the UK, all the cases that occurred between late March and early June have been assessed for symptoms, various clinical measurements and outcomes. This analysis has now been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and tells the story of the UK’s experience of vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (VITT).
Journalists dialled in to this briefing to hear the authors of the paper discuss aspects such as:
– what is the case definition of VIIT; how do we know what is and isn’t a case?
– what have we learned in the UK about how best to treat and look after patients with VIIT?
– is the outcome any better now for those that do develop the condition?
– how are things in the UK now – are we still seeing cases or did they stop when the JCVI advice came into effect?
Dr Sue Pavord, Consultant Haematologist at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust, Associate Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford, Chair of the Expert Haematology Panel, and lead author
Prof Beverley Hunt OBE, Medical Director of Thrombosis UK, Professor of Thrombosis & Haemostasis at King’s College London, member of the Expert Haematology Panel
Prof Michael Makris, Professor of Haemostasis & Thrombosis, University of Sheffield
Prof Marie Scully, UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science, and Consultant Haematologist at UCLH
Dr Catherine Bagot, Consultant Haematologist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and Senior Clinical Lecturer, ICAMS, University of Glasgow
This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.