COVID-19, News

COVID-19 Vaccine Statement from Australian ITP Medical Advisors

Updated information published April 8, 2021 from ATAGI.

Based on the current data available, ITP Australia’s Medical Advisory Board believe that at this time, the benefits of the SARS-Cov2 vaccines outweigh the risks and strongly favours vaccination of all adults, including those with pre-existing ITP.

Patients with ITP who are on no treatment or on non-immunosuppressive treatment, can receive the vaccine without consulting their treating specialist or general practitioner.

Those ITP patients who are on treatment with immunosuppressants (including pred(ni)solone, azathioprine, mycophenolate), should discuss the vaccination with their treating specialist, not because the vaccine presents higher risk, but due to the potential diminished efficacy of the vaccine regarding immunity to the COVID-19 virus.

There may eventually be several different COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia with most using new technologies.  While there has been anecdotal evidence that some vaccines used for other conditions in the past can trigger or exacerbate ITP, our advice is still that ITP patients should receive the vaccine unless specific advice to the contrary is given by the treating specialist.

If after receiving the SARS-Cov2 vaccine a patient experiences symptoms of thrombocytopenia, they should contact their treating specialist. Increased monitoring of blood counts after receiving the vaccine in the absence of any symptoms is regarded as unnecessary.

It is advisable for patients with bleeding disorders like ITP to take extra precautions when receiving the vaccine to prevent bruises at the injection site. The following technique is recommended: fine-gauge needle (23-gauge or smaller calibre) should be used for the vaccination, followed by firm pressure on the site, without rubbing, for at least 2 minutes.

We recognise that this is a very fluid situation and therefore recommendations may change as additional information with new vaccines is made available.

In addition to receiving the vaccine, it is also advised that all people, including ITP patients, continue to follow the other preventative behaviours as outlined by the Australian Government Department of Health.