Opponents of COVID-19 vaccine misrepresent CDC webcast on causes of blood clots

SciCheck Summary

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has hosted a webinar on treating blood clots, which is expected to grow as the US population ages and obesity rates rise. But some vaccine opponents misrepresented the webinar to falsely suggest that the predicted increase in blood clots is linked to COVID-19 vaccines.



Whole story

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted a webinar on September 22 on the treatment and prevention of blood clots.

Health care providers expect the number of patients at risk of developing blood clots and requiring anticoagulant care to increase dramatically as the population ages and obesity rates increase over the next few decades. More on that later.

The webcast featured Allison Burnett, President of Anticoagulation Forum — an organization that works with healthcare providers to improve patient care. It was moderated by Dr. Caroline Cromwell, Medical Director of the Thrombosis Services Program at Mount Sinai Health System in New York.

Most of the webcast participants — 73%, according to a user-generated poll — were healthcare providers. The archived YouTube version garnered 89 views.

But then it got hacked.

On the same day the webcast was posted, Candace Owens, a conservative political commentator who has advocated against COVID-19 vaccines, posted a video on social media referencing the CDC seminar summary (shown in the tweet at right), who said the estimated number of patients needing anticoagulant care would double by 2050. Owens then made the baseless suggestion that it was related to vaccines. The video received over 31,000 likes on Instagram alone.

Other anti-vaccine activists have posted similar videos, including Canadian conspiracy theorist Chris Saccoccia impersonating Chris Sky online.

A day after the webinar, Saccoccia posted a video on Telegram quoting the same synopsis from the CDC and said in part: “So, all of you who took your shot. All of you who aren’t very smart. All of you who take time to die. Guess what happened today? The CDC just announced – in its infinite wisdom – that it expects the number of people to need blood thinners – and for you all of you who don’t understand what that means but still took your shots because you’re geniuses it’s blood clot treatment, blood thinners are for blood clots – so why does the CDC say that he expects the number of people suffering from blood clots to double—double!—right after the beatings for the first time in human history?

Like Owens’ supporters, Saccoccia’s supporters responded with variants of the mistaken belief that COVID-19 vaccines were to blame. Saccoccia’s video has been viewed over 24,000 times on Telegram and copied on Rumble.

But if any of them watched the webinar, instead of drawing the wrong conclusion from a short synopsis posted by the CDC on Twitter, they would have learned that studies years prior to COVID-19 vaccines suggest that there will be an increased need for anticoagulant. care.

Indeed, two of the most common medical conditions requiring blood thinners are expected to increase as the population ages and obesity increases, Burnett told us in a phone interview. These conditions are atrial fibrillation, or AFib, a type of irregular heartbeat that can cause clotting and becomes more common as people age, and venous thromboembolism, or VTE, which refers to blood clots that start in a vein. Risk factors for VTE include obesity, hospitalization, and age.

Together, these two conditions will increase the number of patients who will need blood thinners, Burnett said.

This increase in blood-thinning care has nothing to do with the COVID-19 vaccination, she said.

In fact, she said a person is much more likely to have a blood clot after being infected with COVID-19 than they are after being vaccinated.

“So the message is – get vaccinated to avoid blood clots,” because being infected can increase the risk of clots, Burnett said.

This message is supported by a British study published September 19 in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, which found that the incidence of clots “remains elevated for up to 49 weeks after diagnosis of COVID-19”. The study concluded, “These findings support policies aimed at preventing severe cases of COVID-19 through COVID-19 vaccines, early post-discharge screening, risk factor control, and use of secondary preventive agents in high-risk patients.

It should be noted, as we have already explained, that one of the vaccines available in the United States, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, can cause a particular type of clotting which has been observed mainly in one group of people – the women under 50. But the condition is very rare, and in December the CDC recommended both mRNA vaccines rather than Johnson & Johnson’s. Only about 3% of the vaccine doses administered in the United States come from Johnson & Johnson.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of distortion of the CDC’s words.

In February, online posts misleadingly linked a CDC public health campaign on deep vein thrombosis to COVID-19 vaccines. But, as we have explained, bblood clot in the deep veins is a relatively common medical condition. The CDC had simply tweeted a link to his page on this serious disease in an effort to raise awareness. The tweet also had nothing to do with COVID-19 vaccines.


Editor’s Note: The SciCheck COVID-19/Vaccination Project is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation has no control over the editorial decisions of FactCheck.org, and the opinions expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the foundation. The goal of the project is to increase exposure to accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines, while reducing the impact of misinformation.

Sources

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National Blood Clot Alliance – Stop the Clot. Anticoagulation management – Optimizing VTE treatment across the continuum of care. YouTube.com. September 22, 2022.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (@CDCgov). “Providers: The estimated number of patients requiring blood thinners is expected to double by 2050. Learn how you can improve the use of these therapies to optimize care for your patients in this webinar.” Twitter. September 20, 2022.

Huang, Wei et al. “Secular trends in the occurrence of acute venous thromboembolism: the Worcester VTE study (1985-2009).” The American Journal of Medicine. May 6, 2014.

Deitelzweig, SB, et al. “Prevalence of clinical venous thromboembolism in the United States: current trends and future projections.” American Journal of Hematology. February 2011.

Burnett, Allison. President, the Anticoagulation Forum. Phone interview with FactCheck.org. September 27, 2022.

Knight, Rochelle, et al. “Association of COVID-19 with major arterial and venous thrombotic disease: a population-wide cohort study of 48 million adults in England and Wales.” Traffic. September 19, 2022.

Kiely, Eugene and Lori Robertson. “Questions and answers about the rare clotting events that caused the J&J break.” FactCheck.org. Updated May 6, 2022.

Centers for Control and Prevention of Disasters. Press release. “CDC Endorses ACIP’s Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations.” December 16, 2021.

Centers for Control and Prevention of Disasters. COVID data tracker. COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States. Accessed September 28, 2022.

Mcdonald, Jessica. “Post misinterprets public health awareness campaigns about blood clots.” FactCheck.org. March 7, 2022.

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