The clotting-related deaths among people who had taken the covid vaccines has caused panic and hesitancy towards the vaccine. But as enlightened and informed people, it is important to not give in to misinformation or lack of information and know the real facts to overcome the risks. Read on to know all the facts about the vaccine, the occurrence of clotting, and the right protocol to follow in such cases…
What exactly is TTS or Blood-Clotting?
Healthline defines a blood clot as “A clump of blood that has changed from a liquid to a gel-like or semisolid state”. In the case of injury, clotting is life-saving as it helps to stop bleeding. It is problematic when it is formed inside the vessel without any reason. Blood clotting isn’t harmful when it is immobile, but if it breaks free and travels to organs like the heart and lungs, it can prevent blood flow, leading to stroke and respiratory issues.
How is this related to the Covid Vaccine?
First and foremost it is necessary to understand that clotting is not caused by the vaccine itself, but in fact due to improper injection techniques by the healthcare worker administering it. There have been some cases of people dying of clots after taking the vaccine. But there is finally an explanation for these mysterious deaths…
Clinical trials carried out by Germany’s acclaimed Munich University and a research institute in Italy have proved that Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT) aka clotting occurs when an intra-muscular vaccine is injected into a blood vessel, instead of into a muscle.
When given intramuscularly, the vaccine stays localized. When injected into the bloodstream it gets transported to different parts of the body and clots can form anywhere. Clot-formation has been acknowledged as clearly associated, though not commonly associated, with the jab.
Is it better to avoid the vaccine?
Of course not! Experts claim that thrombosis induced by infection of the corona is much worse than what could be caused due to the wrong injection of the vaccine. So it is advised to take the vaccine.
Besides, so far the condition has been very rare, with approximately 1 case in every one lakh case. And even out of that, not every case is fatal.
This minor risk should not be allowed to undermine the importance of the vaccine. Moreover, it is not an irreversible outcome. Physicians say that early diagnosis is key to treating blotting adequately and nipping the risks at the bud.
What are the ways to prevent it?
Firstly, since it is caused by faulty injection techniques, the best way is to ensure that trained professionals are entrusted with administering them. Clotting usually occurs when the medical professional pinches the skin of the person being vaccinated, injecting the vaccine into the blood vessel as opposed to the muscle.
The healthcare workers should be urged to conduct “aspiration” which is pulling back the plunger of the syringe to check if they hit a blood vessel while giving intramuscular injections. Given the gravity of the situation, it should be ensured that all professionals are following protocol, and trainees should not be entrusted with such tasks.
If unfortunately, this was not done, there are still ways to salvage the situation. All hope is not lost. There are steps that the vaccinated persons and their loved ones can take to ensure early diagnosis, thereby, reducing the risks to a minimum.
What are some symptoms to look out for?
Blood clots can be treated well if diagnosed at the early stages. The period between 4-20 days post-vaccination is the most crucial as this is when there is a heightened risk of clotting. Anyone experiencing unusual symptoms within the first 20 days post-vaccination should immediately seek medical help.
The warning signs of a possible blood clot differ from the normal side effects that may occur after vaccination that show your immune system is doing its job. When you spot symptoms of Thrombosis, waste no time and rush to your physician.
So, look out for any of the following symptoms-
- Breathlessness and difficulty in breathing
- Chest pain
- Pain or tingling sensations in the limbs (arms and legs), in some cases there may be swelling in the fingers or toes,
- Shooting pain in the head (among people with no history of headaches or migraines)
- Blurred vision
- Persistent abdominal pain with or without vomiting,
- Weakness or paralysis of limbs, or a side of the face or body
- The appearance of pinkish blotches and bruises on the skin
- Seizures (among people with no history of such conditions)
- New or easy bruising
There are some underlying conditions that could make a person more prone to it, and it is advised for them to be especially careful. For instance, people with a history of clotting in their families, people with autoimmune thrombocytopenia i.e. a low platelet count, or those undergoing surgery, hospitalization, pregnancy, cancer and some types of cancer treatment may be at a higher risk.
The vaccines are our best bet at resuming normal life and defeating the pandemic as soon as possible. Like every coin has two sides, there are some risks involved in inoculation too. It is worthy to remember that the pros certainly outweigh the cons.
It is pivotal to be up-to-date with the latest research and guidelines in this area as it is a novel situation for the entire world to deal with. With adequate awareness and proactive action, we can, together as a community, ensure that these tips towards our benefit rather than our loss.