Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID 19 ITPAs the global impact of COVID-19 grows daily, our priority is always on the health and safety of our ITP community. Here we share important disease and treatment information and helpful resources to keep you current and informed.

COVID-19 vaccines and ITP: Should patients be vaccinated?

Updated Statement on COVID Vaccine in ITP Patients from PDSA Medical Advisors (1/8/21)

The occurrence of severe thrombocytopenia and death of a man in Florida three days after receiving the Pfizer COVID vaccine is tragic and concerning. The relationship between the occurrence of severe thrombocytopenia and the vaccination, if any, is uncertain. To our knowledge, this is the first such event reported after over 5 million such vaccinations. It is impossible at this time to be certain whether or not the vaccination is causal or coincidental. Based on the available data, the benefit to risk ratio strongly favors vaccination of all adults, including those with ITP. None of the medical board members is aware of any similar events in our patient population, but we are open-minded as more information about this case or others emerge. We encourage our ITP community to notify PDSA with their own experience with the vaccine. PDSA will continue to update our patients about adverse effects relevant to the ITP community as information reaches us from the CDC, NIH, FDA MedWatch, and our collective clinical experience. To summarize, the opinion of the medical advisors of PDSA is that our patients with ITP should not be hesitant to be vaccinated based on all available information.

Guidelines from PDSA Medical Advisors (12/28/20)

The PDSA medical advisors are of the opinion that the risk-benefit ratio favors vaccination against SARS-Cov-2 for patients with ITP who meet FDA and CDC guidelines. No vaccine is “risk free”, but there is no evidence to date to suggest that the apparent very low risk of allergic reactions is any greater in patients with ITP. On the other hand, there is compelling evidence that vaccination markedly, perhaps >90-95%, reduces the risk of serious infection. We are not aware of data to indicate that the currently available vaccines are especially likely to exacerbate ITP. If there is reason for concern that the platelets may have fallen after initial vaccination, a platelet count could be obtained at the time of the booster dose 21-28 days later. More data is needed to determine if the vaccine is as effective (and if the effectiveness is as durable) in patients who received or are receiving therapy for ITP as it is for individuals in the general population. Vaccination is also indicated in patients who have had a splenectomy.

Guidelines from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

For patients with bleeding disorders:
COVID-19 vaccine may be given to these patients, if a physician familiar with the patient’s bleeding risk determines that the vaccine can be administered intramuscularly with reasonable safety. ACIP recommends the following technique for intramuscular vaccination in patients with bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners: a fine-gauge needle (23-gauge or smaller caliber) should be used for the vaccination, followed by firm pressure on the site, without rubbing, for at least 2 minutes.

For patients who are immunocompromised:
Immunocompromise is not a contraindication to current COVID-19 vaccine, including those with cancer, leukemia, HIV/AIDS and other immune system problems or taking medication that affects their immune systems. However, patients should be informed that the vaccine might be less effective than in someone who is immunocompetent.


Facts over Fear: COVID-19 & ITP Virtual Town Hall Meeting with Global ITP Experts (Part 2)

This webinar was broadcast live on July 30, 2020.

Facts over Fear: COVID-19 & ITP Virtual Town Hall Meeting with Global ITP Experts (Part 1)

This webinar was broadcast live on April 3, 2020. Over 700 individuals registered from 44 Countries, 48 U.S. States, and 7 Canadian Provinces.

COVID 19 Town Hall VideosShort Video Clips - Doctors Answer Your Questions

In this series of individual videos excerpted from the virtual town hall meeting, ITP doctors and experts answer specific questions about COVID-19 and ITP.

Watch Videos



    According to several of PDSA’s medical advisors and ITP experts, there is very little to no added risk for ITP patients being infected by COVID-19, but a patient’s ITP may worsen if they get the virus. There is no literature to support the virus would suppress platelet production any more than influenza, but some ITP patients seem to be more sensitive to systemic viral infections than others in general.

    While there is no known data on COVID-19 and patients being treated with corticosteroids or immunosuppression, the risk of immunosuppression with high dose/protracted steroids, rituximab or other immunosuppressive drugs is comparable to influenza or other systemic viral illnesses. It is recommended that ITP patients being treated with these therapies be extra diligent: frequent hand washing, avoiding overtly ill persons and seeking early medical attention if they develop symptoms compatible with this infection.

    ITP patients who have had a splenectomy are not predisposed to getting the COVID-19 virus. However, they might have trouble handling certain bacterial infections which might happen as a complication after a COVID-19 infection. That is why patients without spleens are encouraged to make sure they are up to date with their three vaccines: H influenzae (this is not the flu vaccine), Pneumococcus, and N meningitis.

    COVID-19 and ITP in Pediatric ITP: What You Need to Know

    Important information about COVID-19 and children. This information has been reviewed by PDSA medical advisors. (5/21/20)

    Read Article



    In general, the most common cause of an overwhelming blood stream infection after one has had a splenectomy is from pneumococcus, which is a type of strep. The best ways to prevent, avoid and treat it are:

    • Get the pneumococcal vaccine every five years and check the response to it by having blood sent for antibody levels
    • Always have antibiotics available at home so if anything happens they can be started immediately
    • Plan to go to the emergency room immediately at any time there is a fever of 101 degrees or higher no matter how you feel. Do not wait to see if the fever responds to Tylenol and do not wait until the morning. If the fever happens at 3 a.m. you should be leaving home at 3:05 a.m. You will need to have a thermometer on hand and should take your temperature whenever you feel ill even if you do not feel very warm. Ideally, when you get to an emergency room, a blood culture would be done, a blood count would be drawn, your blood pressure and other things like your temperature, pulse, respiration (breathing) rate would be assessed and ideally you would get an antibiotic such as ceftriaxone right away. After that you need to be observed.

    Some physicians recommend antibiotic prophylaxis to be taken daily for life after splenectomy and that’s usually penicillin.



    • Amgen Guidance and Information for Patients including those on romiplostim (Nplate®) HERE
    • ASH COVID-19 Resources - COVID-19 and ITP: Frequently Asked Questions HERE
    • Coronavirus and IVIG HERE
    • International Resources and News HERE
    • NORD Financial Assistance Program for Rare Disease Community Members Impacted by COVID-19 MORE INFO
    • Severe Immune Thrombocytopenia Complicated by Intracerebral Haemorrhage Associated with Coronavirus Infection: A Case Report and Literature Review READ MORE



    • CDC’s Coronavirus website HERE
    • CDC’s Resources in Languages other than English HERE
    • Coronavirus anxiety resources from Shine HERE
    • Daily updates on COVID-19 from the CDC HERE
    • Managing anxiety & stress during COVID-19 from the CDC HERE
    • NAMI: COVID-19 Guide, Information and Resources VIEW GUIDE
    • Reports show children are infected by COVID-19 less often and seem to be less affected by the virus, but it is important to remain vigilant, especially if your child is immunosuppressed. READ MORE
    • TailorMed: Financial Navigation Resources for COVID-19 HERE
    • U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Drug Shortages Database HERE




    • Emerging scientific developments around COVID-19, including clinical trial, test kit, therapeutic progress information and more from the Immunoglobulin National Society’s R&D Progress Report on COVID-19 HERE

      • Coronavirus vaccine trial administers first doses to participants
      • FDA to allow COVID-19 test kits to bypass the agency’s approval process
      • New rapid COVID-19 test produces fast results
      • Multiple therapeutic investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 infection
      • Selected repurposed drugs in clinical development to treat COVID-19

    • COVID-19 Clinical Trials (US & International updated daily) HERE

Stay Informed

Hands connecting puzzle piecesWe will continue to monitor the situation and provide information to our patients and caregivers on COVID-19 and how it might affect ITP patients. Please continue to check the PDSA website, Facebook page and other communications from PDSA.

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