Filipina in New York Develops Blood Disorder After Moderna Vaccine

Vaccine side effects are expected, severe reactions are rare.
Photo/s: shutterstock

A 72-year-old Filipina living in New York developed a rare blood disorder after she received Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, her daughter told The New York Times.

Moderna said it "continuosly monitors" the safety of its COVID-19 jab without directly commenting on the case of Luz Legaspi. Her daughter, who asked not to be identified, said their family supports vaccinations for COVID-19 and did not want to cause fear.

One day after receiving the Moderna jab, on Jan. 19, Legazpi was brought to a hospital in Queens after she developed bruises on her arms and legs and blisters in her mouth that bled. She was diagnosed with thrombocytopenia or a lack of blood platelets.


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Legaspi's platelet count was down to zero when she was admitted in Elmhurst, Queens. She was treated with platelet transfusions, steroids and immune globulins. It was not until after a platelet expert in the area, Dr. Niriksha Chandrani, recommended an alternative treatment did the Filipina's condition improve.

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Her platelet count started rising significantly on Feb. 1 and by the following day, she was discharged and went home to her apartment, also in Queens.

The U.S. has gone ahead of most of the world in vaccinating its population against COVID-19. In the Philippines, vaccines from Pfizer and China's Sinovac are due to arrive in February. Manila's portfolio strategy is considering Moderna as well as Britain's AstraZeneca.

What are the reported side effects so far?

Some 80% of those vaccinated with the Pfizer drug felt pain at the injection site. Many also felt fatigue, headache and muscle-pain and some had temporarily swollen lymph nodes, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. 

Severe side effects have so far been extremely rare. 

Only one patient who received the Oxford AstraZeneca jab had a "serious side effect possibly related" to the injection, according to the data in The Lancet. 


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Four cases of Bell's palsy -- a facial paralysis that is often temporary -- were observed among 18,000 volunteers over two months in the Pfizer/BioNTech trial, according to an Agence France-Presse report that quoted medical journals.

After Britain began administering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine last December, British health authorities said two patients had suffered adverse reactions.

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