Potential Triggers for Thrombocytopenia and/or Hemorrhage by the BNT162b2 Vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech

Front Med (Lausanne). 2021 Sep 30:8:751598. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.751598. eCollection 2021.


Immune thrombocytopenia is an autoimmune disease that can cause bleeding in severe cases. Although available published data do not associate the BNT162b2 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) with the risk of developing thrombocytopenia, the ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccine has raised concerns about its potential link with thrombosis and thrombocytopenia. We would like to clarify whether the BNT162b2 vaccine administration may interfere with pre-existing conditions and whether it may cause a risk of thrombocytopenia. Herein, we report three cases of post-vaccine thrombocytopenia among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA); one case in which a causal relationship cannot be ruled out with the BNT162b2 vaccine was officially announced. Furthermore, we reviewed reports of adverse events and death cases with a focus on thrombocytopenia and hemorrhages, following vaccination with BNT162b2 in Japan between February 17, 2021 and July 16, 2021, as reported by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare within the general population. The three cases in this report share the common features of old age, RA, chronic renal failure or hypertension, and pre-existing mild thrombocytopenia at baseline. A total of 746 death cases were reported during this time period, with death by bleeding accounting for 8.8% of the total deaths, of which 84.8% were cranial and statistically higher in young women than among elderly women. The risk-benefit ratio of the vaccine needs to be reconsidered based on high- and low-risk population types and ethnicity. To do so, the expansion of the pharmacovigilance system for BNT162b2 vaccination is urgently required worldwide.

Keywords: BNT162b2; COVID-19; hemorrhage; immune thrombocytopenia; rheumatoid arthritis.