A B.C. woman in her 40s has become the first person in the province to be diagnosed with a rare blood clot disorder following a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday this is the first case of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenic, or VITT, that they have seen since beginning the COVID-19 vaccine program. The woman is stable and is receiving treatment in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
Henry said this is very rare, but VITT is associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. So far, research shows it affects about one in 100,000 doses.
“There are a lot of people who have received this vaccine; it’s an important part of our program,” she said.
The rare disorder can affect someone between day four and day 28 after receiving the vaccine, Henry added.
The woman started to feel symptoms around day five, Henry confirmed.
If anyone feels unwell after receiving any vaccine, they should call 811 or speak to their doctor right away.
But Henry wanted to assure everyone that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe.
“This is an excellent vaccine. It is safe and it is effective,” she said.
In Canada, more than 700,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot have been administered to date. There have been seven reported cases of the rare clotting.
It is still not known exactly why some people develop it while others do not.
Recently, an Alberta woman in her 50s died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine and health officials linked her death to VITT.
Deaths connected to the vaccine and VITT have also been recorded in Quebec and New Brunswick.
Symptoms of VITT include:
- Severe headache.
- Visual changes.
- Abdominal pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Back pain.
- Shortness of breath.
- Swelling and pain in a limb.