Two adenovirus-based vaccines, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and Ad26.COV2.S, and two mRNA-based vaccines, BNT162b2 and mRNA.1273, have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and are invaluable in preventing and reducing the incidence of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Recent reports have pointed to thrombosis with associated thrombocytopenia as an adverse effect occurring at a low frequency in some individuals after vaccination. The causes of such events may be related to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein interactions with different C-type lectin receptors, heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) and the CD147 receptor, or to different soluble splice variants of the spike protein, adenovirus vector interactions with the CD46 receptor or platelet factor 4 antibodies. Similar findings have been reported for several viral diseases after vaccine administration. In addition, immunological mechanisms elicited by viral vectors related to cellular delivery could play a relevant role in individuals with certain genetic backgrounds. Although rare, the potential COVID-19 vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) requires immediate validation, especially in risk groups, such as the elderly, chronic smokers, and individuals with pre-existing incidences of thrombocytopenia; and if necessary, a reformulation of existing vaccines.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; chronic smokers; thrombosis; vaccines.