A B.C. man says surgeons removed more than six feet of his small intestine due to a massive blood clot caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine.
In a Facebook post, Shaun Mulldoon, 41, said he first felt stomach pains 10 days after his shot and was hospitalized for vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) one week later.
“Seventeen days after my vaccine, (I) ended up going into emergency surgery to remove over six feet of my small intestine. I had a massive blood clot,” said Mulldoon, who lives in the Fraser Health region.
He had a second surgery two days after his first where doctors removed even more of his small intestine.
“I really wish they had let us know what ‘worst-case scenario’ might look like,” Mulldoon said.
It’s B.C.’s second case of VITT this month. A woman in her 40s is recovering after being hospitalized for a clot last week in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
“For some reason, in some people, the vaccine seems to stimulate an immune response that develops antibodies against our platelets. This causes a type of clotting that is different from other types of blood clots. … It is a very challenging one to treat,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer.
Henry said anyone who develops VITT symptoms, which include persistent and severe headaches, pains in the chest or abdomen, swelling or redness in limbs and shortness of breath, within 28 days of receiving the vaccine should contact their health-care provider or call 811.
“Recognizing the symptoms and getting treatment early is important,” she said.
A week following his surgery, Mulldoon remains hospitalized and is listed in stable condition.
“My surgeon told me it was very close,” he said. “If you get (AstraZeneca) and do not feel 100 per cent get yourself to emergency immediately.”
There have been 28 suspected cases of VITT and four deaths associated with the 2.3 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that have been administered in Canada.
British Columbia has delivered 272,537 jabs of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Health Ministry plans to limit its remaining supply of the AstraZeneca for second doses only, but Henry suggested Thursday that those who received a first dose of AstraZeneca may have the option to receive a jab of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines when it comes time for a second dose.
“We will continue to ensure we have sufficient (AstraZeneca) supply for Dose 2 for everybody who’s received AstraZeneca, and we’ll continue to follow the data on studies around the world that will help us understand which is the best option for people,” said Henry.
“It’s my expectation that people who have received AstraZeneca so far will have a choice — once we know more about taking Pfizer or Moderna as a second dose.”
B.C. health officials reported 587 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday along with five additional deaths from the respiratory disease.
There have been a total of 137,810 cases and 1,632 COVID-19 related deaths in B.C. since the start of the pandemic. Henry said 30 British Columbians have died despite receiving a vaccine, including four who were fully vaccinated with two doses.
Of the more than 79,000 cases of COVID-19 that have been reported in B.C. since Dec. 27, when the province began its immunization program, there have been 1,340 individuals who became infected after receiving their first dose of vaccine and 120 people who developed the disease after getting a second dose.
More than 2.3 million doses of vaccine have been administered so far and more than half of all eligible adults in B.C. have received at least one dose. Just 2.8 per cent of the eligible population have had the necessary second dose.
Beginning Sunday, every B.C. adult aged 18 and older will be able to book a vaccination appointment.
Health Minister Adrian Dix urged everyone who was born in 2003 or earlier to register for the vaccination process as soon as possible. Registration can be completed online at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated, by telephone through a provincial call centre at 1-833-838-2323 (between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.) or in person at the nearest Service B.C. location.