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Ask the Rheumatologist: Latest Answer

Q:

Allie from Canada asks: I have lupus and low platelets (thrombocytopenia).  I understand COVID vaccines can make low platelets worse.  Can I get a COVID vaccine?

A:

Low platelets can be a manifestation of systemic lupus.  It is still safe for those with lupus to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. There is a concern of the virus vector vaccines (Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson products) inducing low platelets and a syndrome called vaccine induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).  The risk of developing VITT is very rare.  There is no data to suggest having low platelets in lupus would increase the risk of developing VITT.  Perhaps more importantly, the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna products) do not have the same risk associated with them.  For most Canadians, the mRNA vaccines are the ones that are available to them.  In Alberta, those with lupus fall under Phase 2B, meaning they would only be offered an mRNA vaccine at this time.  For information on COVID19 vaccines and rheumatology medications, click here.

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