Ms. Neckelmann said she told her husband’s story to make people aware of the possible “side effects” of the vaccine and “that it’s not good for everyone and in this case it destroys a beautiful life, a perfect family and such has affected many people in the community. “
Dr. Jerry L. Spivak, an expert on blood disorders at Johns Hopkins University who is not part of Dr. Michael’s care was involved, based on Ms. Neckelmann’s description, “I think there is a medical certainty that the vaccine is related. ”
“This will be very rare,” said Dr. Spivak, professor emeritus of medicine. But he added, “It happened and it could happen again.”
Even so, it shouldn’t prevent people from getting vaccinated.
Dr. Michael develops acute immune thrombocytopenia when the immune system attacks a patient’s own platelets or the cells in the bone marrow that make up platelets. Covid itself can cause the disease in some patients.
A long list of drugs, including quinine and certain antibiotics, can also cause the disorder in some people. Dr. Spivak described the reactions as “headstrong,” meaning they meet certain people for no rhyme or reason, possibly due to unknown genetic traits, and there is no way to predict whether someone is susceptible.
“If you vaccinate enough people, things will happen,” he said.
Vaccines stimulate the immune system and in theory, in rare cases, can lead to some cells in a patient being incorrectly identified as enemy invaders that should be destroyed.
Dr. Spivak said several things made the vaccine the most likely suspect in Dr. Michael’s case. The disorder appeared quickly after the shot and was so severe that his platelet count “shot down” – a pattern that was in some cases caused by drugs like quinine. In addition, Dr. Michael healthy and young compared to most people who develop chronic forms of the disease for other reasons. After all, most of the patients – 70 percent – are women. A sudden fall in a man, especially a relatively young, healthy one, suggests a recent trigger.