At least 36 individuals have been diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenia, or ITP, a rare blood disorder, after taking either of the two COVID-19 vaccinations that are available to the public, according to a report published by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
The cases were reported to VAERS at the end of January, according to The New York Times. It was not immediately known if the shots caused the disorder; however, all of the cases were reported by health care providers or patients after they received a vaccination.
Immune thrombocytopenia is a condition that leads to easy or excessive bruising and/or bleeding resulting from low levels of blood platelets, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms include small purple spots that resemble a rash and purple bruises.
A spokesperson from Pfizer, maker of one of the vaccines, told Fox News that the company was "aware of cases of thrombocytopenia in recipients of our COVID-19 vaccine" and took reports of adverse reactions "very seriously."
"We are collecting relevant information to share with the FDA. However, at this time, we have not been able to establish a causal association with our vaccine," the spokesperson added.
"To date, millions of people have been vaccinated and we are closely monitoring all adverse events in individuals receiving our vaccine. Serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine, are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population."
In a statement to the Times, Moderna, another maker of vaccines, stated that it "continuously monitors the safety of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine using all sources of data" and routinely shares safety information with regulators.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were reportedly looking into the reports, but the Times noted that rates of the condition in those who took the vaccine were not higher than those that normally occur within the U.S. population.
That being said, expert hematologists who treat ITP said they suspected that the vaccine did play a role in those who contracted the condition. They also said that the instance of people developing it were extremely rare and could be the result of some kind of predisposition that causes their immune system to destroy blood platelets.
One of the individuals who developed ITP was 56-year-old obstetrician Dr. Gregory Michael, from Miami Beach, Florida. He developed symptoms three days after receiving the Pfizer vaccine on December 18 and died from a brain hemorrhage two weeks later.