A Three-Case Series of Thrombotic Deaths in Patients over 50 with Comorbidities Temporally after modRNA COVID-19 Vaccination

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the most dramatic pandemic of the new millennium; to counteract it, specific vaccines have been launched in record time under emergency use authorization or conditional marketing authorization by virtue of a favorable risk/benefit balance. Among the various technological platforms, there is that exploiting a nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA), such as Comirnaty®, and that which is adenoviral vector-based. In the ongoing pharmacovigilance, the product information of the latter has been updated about the risk of thrombotic thrombocytopenia, venous thromboembolism without thrombocytopenia and immune thrombocytopenia without thrombosis. However, from an in-depth literature review, the same adverse events can rarely occur with modRNA vaccines too. In support of this, we here report a three-case series of thrombotic deaths in patients over 50 with comorbidities temporally after Comirnaty®, investigated by means of post-mortem histopathology and immunohistochemistry. In two out of three cases, the cause of death is traced back to pulmonary microthromboses rich in activated platelets, quite similar morphologically to those described in patients who died from severe COVID-19. Even if remote in the face of millions of administered doses, clinicians should be aware of the possible thrombotic risk also after Comirnaty®, in order to avoid a misdiagnosis with potentially lethal consequences.

Since COVID-19 vaccines are inoculated in subjects to be protected, maximum attention must be paid to their safety, and prophylactic measures to increase it are always welcome. In light of the evidence, the product information of modRNA COVID-19 vaccines should be updated about the thrombotic risk, as happened for adenoviral vector-based vaccines.