Researchers revealed that the global vaccination against COVID-19 has led to the detection of autoimmune hematologic disorders such as cold agglutinin disease (CAD), as published in Vaccines.

They noted that while these serious adverse events are rare, they can be life-threatening, and therefore rapid and accurate diagnoses are essential.

“Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, like other ones, are able to induce antibodies against vaccinated subjects’ self-antigens that trigger mechanisms leading to hematologic autoimmune disease development,” the authors wrote.


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“When a hematologic autoimmune disorder develops following vaccination, a prompt and accurate diagnosis is essential to initiate the appropriate treatment and avoid bleeding or thromboembolic complications that may sometimes be life-threatening.”

The research team searched the PubMed registry and the updates of the European Database of Suspected Adverse Drug Reaction, United Kingdom Medicines & Healthcare Products Released Regulatory Agency, Health-Infobase Government of Canada, and the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) for studies related to hematologic autoimmune adverse events in the context of COVID-19.

Read more about CAD comorbidities

The authors found 7 cases of warm antibody hemolytic anemia and CAD in the studies reviewed. The clinical symptoms occurred within the time frame of the cytokine storm that can be caused by the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Symptoms in these cases included chronic hemolysis, fever, shock, icteric signals, lumbar pain, and dark urine.

Another review reported up to 50 cases of warm or cold autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) following a diagnosis of COVID-19 and the authors of this review report over 200 statements in the VAERS database about AIHA episodes following vaccination.

Among the 7 patients who developed AIHA after COVID-19, 5 were treated with corticosteroids and 2 with infusions of red blood cells. Corticosteroids failed in 1 patient, who was then treated with rituximab. At the last follow-up, all had at least partially recovered. The authors recommend continuing to investigate and report cases of hematologic autoimmune disorders after vaccination, to help plan an appropriate vaccination schedule for these patients.

Reference

Mingot-Castellano ME, Butta N, Canaro M, et al. Covid-19 vaccines and autoimmune hematologic disorders. Vaccines. Published online June 16, 2022. doi:10.3390/vaccines10060961