Analysis of hematologic adverse events reported to a national surveillance system following COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccination

Jeremy W. Jacobs, Garrett S. Booth, Brian D. Adkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hematologic complications, including vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), and autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), have been associated with the original severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines. However, on August 31, 2022, new formulations of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were approved for use without clinical trial testing. Thus, any potential adverse hematologic effects with these new vaccines remain unknown. We queried the US Centers for Disease Control Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national surveillance database, through February 3, 2023, all reported hematologic adverse events that occurred within 42 days of administration of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Bivalent COVID-19 Booster vaccine. We included all patient ages and geographic locations and utilized 71 unique VAERS diagnostic codes pertaining to a hematologic condition as defined in the VAERS database. Fifty-five reports of hematologic events were identified (60.0% Pfizer-BioNTech, 27.3% Moderna, 7.3% Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster plus influenza, 5.5% Moderna bivalent booster plus influenza). The median age of patients was 66 years, and 90.9% (50/55) of reports involved a description of cytopenias or thrombosis. Notably, 3 potential cases of ITP and 1 case of VITT were identified. In one of the first safety analyses of the new SARS-CoV-2 booster vaccines, we identified few adverse hematologic events (1.05 per 1,000,000 doses), most of which could not be definitively attributed to vaccination. However, three reports of possible ITP and one report of possible VITT highlight the need for continued safety monitoring of these vaccines as their use expands and new formulations are authorized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-959
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Hematology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Bivalent vaccine
  • COVID-19
  • Immune thrombocytopenia
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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