Thrombosis after vaccination: cause decoded – healing practice

How wrong immune reaction can cause thrombosis

As a result of certain vaccinations with adenovirus-based vaccines there is minimal risk of developing thrombosis. According to the German Heart Foundation such complications occur one to two people per 100,000 vaccinated on. A German research team is currently investigating how Thrombosis occurs after vaccination be able.

A working group of the Medical Clinic and Polyclinic I: Cardiology at the LMU Clinic in Munich Dr. Leo Nicolai A study investigates how Thrombosis occurs in rare cases after vaccination with adenovirus-based vaccines be able. The team is now reporting on the findings so far in the specialist journal “Blood”.

Thrombosis in COVID-19 vaccinations

In the COVID-19 vaccinations with the vaccine Vaxzevria from AstraZeneca and the vaccine from Johnson&Johnson In very rare cases, vaccination complications in the form of thrombosis occurred after the vaccination; the cerebral veins were often affected. Among other things, for this reason have not used these vaccines in Germany since December 2021.

“For the development of future vaccines and the safety of people with a susceptibility to thrombosis, including patients with cardiovascular diseases, it is important to understand the causes and mechanisms of these rare thromboses as a misguided immune reaction – here in the context of a vaccination”.explained professor dr Thomas Voigtlander. He is Chairman of the Board of the German Heart Foundation.

“It is important to emphasize that when it comes to protection against the consequences of a Covid-19 infection, the advantage is still clearly on the side of the Covid vaccination – even if in rare cases there are sometimes severe side effects with mRNA- or vector-based Covid- vaccines”emphasizes cardiologist Voigtländer.

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What does VITT mean?

Vaccination-induced blood clot in atypical places such as the cerebral veins are in medical jargon with the abbreviation WHITE denotes what “Vaccine-induced immune-thrombotic thrombocytopenia” stands. It means one misguided immune system response.

Platelets (thrombocytes) play a crucial role in this process. Normally, they serve to quickly close off injuries to blood vessels in order to prevent bleeding. Another task of the platelets is to react to invaders. These include, for example Pathogens such as viruses and bacteriabut also Active ingredients from medicines.

Platelets react to components of the vaccine

As the researchers report, the platelets react to components of the vaccine. A certain platelet protein with the label Platelet Factor 4 (PF4) is activated by the vaccine.

That immune system in turn responds to it by Forms antibodies against PF4 and yourself in a row attacking himself. One can clumping of blood platelets arise and a thrombosis forms.

Drop in platelet count after adenovirus-based drugs

According to the research group, after vaccination with adenovirus-based substances delayed drop in blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia). “A misalignment of your own immune system against the body’s own blood platelets”confirms Nicolai.

The exact mechanisms leading to VITT are currently being studied in detail by the working group led by Dr. Nicolai enlightened. “Based on further investigations into the exact reaction mechanisms, we want to contribute to making vaccinations with adenovirus-based techniques even safer in general in the future”explains Nicolai.

Not only relevant for vaccines

The focus is not only on the COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca or Johnson&Johnson. A similar reaction was, for example, after administering the anticoagulant heparin known.

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The execution of the injection influences the risk of thrombosis

In addition, the team was able to show in preliminary in-vivo tests for the study that the risk of overreactions of the immune system after vaccination with adenovirus-based vaccines is increased if Accidentally hitting a blood vessel during the injection. This is not the case with a correct application in the muscle.

“We are convinced that this project will help to better understand the interaction of platelets and the immune system in other cardiovascular diseases and thus make a forward-looking contribution to basic research and heart health.”summed up Professor Voigtlander. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of medical specialist literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Deutsche Herzstiftung eV/German Heart Research Foundation: From “helper” to “enemy”: Blood platelets can cause thrombosis due to wrong immune reaction (published: June 23, 2022),
  • Leo Nicolai, Alexander Leunig, Kami Pekayvaz, et al.: Thrombocytopenia and splenic platelet directed immune responses after intravenous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 administration; in: Blood (2022),

Important NOTE:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.



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