Doctors seeing resistance to blood transfusions over unfounded COVID vaccine concerns

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Alberta physicians are elevating the alarm a couple of harmful pattern — fuelled by misinformation — that might price lives.

Dr. Stephanie Cooper, an obstetrician specializing in high-risk births at Foothills Medical Centre, mentioned a affected person not too long ago refused to consent to a blood transfusion if it got here from a donor who had acquired the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I see individuals with extreme hemorrhage due to childbirth frequently. And for me, the concept that is out there’s considerably mind-boggling.”

It got here up in a routine dialog whereas she was counselling the affected person earlier than a C-section. The affected person didn’t find yourself needing a blood transfusion.

Shocked by what she’d encountered, Cooper shared her expertise on Twitter and was inundated with responses, together with from different health-care suppliers who reached out with related tales.

“I’m fairly involved about it,” she mentioned, noting Canada’s blood provide doesn’t register the COVID vaccination standing of donors.

“There is not a alternative to obtain COVID vaccine-negative blood. So by declining blood, it means you’ll die.”

Parents request unvaccinated blood

This is just not an deserted incident in Alberta.

“We’re seeing it about a couple of times a month, at this stage. And the fear is in fact that these requests would possibly enhance,” mentioned Dr. Dave Sidhu, the southern Alberta medical lead for transfusion and transplant drugs. 

That contains mother and father of sick kids.

“We do see a number of, definitely in our bone marrow transplant sufferers specifically. You have to bear in mind these kiddos are immuno-compromised and there is all the time extra sensitivity round these sufferers, and a few of them may be fairly frail,” mentioned Sidhu, who’s additionally an affiliate professor within the Cumming School of Medicine on the University of Calgary.

“Any warning or questions round that, we encourage our mother and father to ask.”

Dr. Dave Sidhu, the top of transfusion and transplant drugs in southern Alberta, says he is been concerned in circumstances the place mother and father request blood from unvaccinated donors for his or her sick kids. (Submitted by Dave Sidhu)

According to Sidhu, requests for so-called directed blood donations, taken from an unvaccinated mother or father or authorized guardian, include a lot of dangers and haven’t been accommodated.

So far, mother and father have agreed to proceed after he is talked with them, he mentioned.

And whereas some adults have finally refused blood transfusions, docs have been in a position to deal with them in different methods.

“The actual fear is conditions the place blood is required and it’s life and limb,” he mentioned.

“There is at present no medical or scientific proof to counsel that there are modifications in individuals’s genetic composition due to these mRNA vaccines or every other points with security round blood from both vaccinated or unvaccinated donors.”

Internalized misinformation

According to Timothy Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy on the University of Alberta, these conditions have gotten progressively widespread.

“It’s occurring not simply in Canada however actually all over the world.… This is a extremely good instance of a behaviour — of a request — that’s the direct results of the unfold of misinformation,” he mentioned.

“This relies on the concept both the blood is contaminated, the blood goes to give them COVID, that they consider the dangers related to the COVID vaccines are going to have some antagonistic influence on them. So principally they’ve embraced and internalized the misinformation related to the COVID vaccines and worry the blood on account of that.”

Caulfield mentioned competent adults have the best to refuse remedy even when the choice might hurt them.

“This actually highlights, I feel, how highly effective misinformation may be. It can actually have an effect in a approach that may be harmful,” he mentioned.

“There is not any proof to help these concerns.”

Tim Caulfield, Canadian writer and Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy on the University of Alberta, says refusing blood transfusions from people who find themselves vaccinated towards COVID-19 is harmful and highlights the facility of misinformation. (Submitted by Tim Caulfield)

Canadian Blood Services, which has a complete web page on its web site devoted to this problem, mentioned the well being of sufferers is its prime precedence.

“Health Canada has not really helpful or imposed any restriction on using the authorised COVID-19 vaccines and blood donation,” a spokesperson mentioned in a press release emailed to CBC News.

“This is as a result of the blood of donors who’ve acquired non-live vaccines doesn’t pose a danger to sufferers who obtain a blood transfusion.”

On its web site, Canadian Blood Services explains non-live vaccines “don’t include infectious micro organism or virus or different pathogens that may replicate within the vaccine recipient or trigger an an infection.”

Other such vaccines, together with these defending towards tetanus, whooping cough and influenza, don’t influence eligibility to donate blood.

Dr. Stephanie Cooper, a high-risk obstetrician at Foothills Hospital, is apprehensive extra sufferers will begin refusing blood transfusions, sparking authorized and moral concerns for physicians. (Submitted by Dr. Stephanie Cooper)

It additionally addresses concerns vaccine-generated spike proteins, in an immunized donor, may very well be dangerous to these receiving their blood.

“These claims are unproven and never substantiated by the protection research required for regulatory approval of those vaccines, or from ongoing Canadian and worldwide vaccine and blood security monitoring,” the web site states.

Meanwhile, David Evans, a professor within the division of medical microbiology and immunology on the University of Alberta, believes enhancing scientific literacy could also be one of the best ways, in the long term, to fight the wave of misinformation that’s main to these doubtlessly life-threatening selections.

“The actuality is these vaccines have an extremely good security file,” he mentioned.

“Maybe we must always begin our biology curriculum and beginning to ask, ‘what are we instructing our children, what do we wish them to know by the point they get out of Grade 12 about the way in which our biology works?’ Just sufficient to make it easier to put into perspective what we’re speaking about when one thing like this comes alongside.”

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