The EHP were pivotal in describing the new condition, vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (VITT), improving survival of patients and preventing further cases, enabling the COVID-19 vaccine programme to continue safely.
The EHP formed within three days of its recognition and led virtual, multidisciplinary, clinical meetings, seven days a week, to discuss UK COVID-19 cases, share knowledge and support clinicians. The panel produced living guidance informed by these meetings, defining the clinical and laboratory features, diagnostic criteria and optimal management.
They worked with UK regulatory bodies, hospital trusts and primary care to raise awareness of VITT. They helped shape the public message whilst developing guidelines with the British Society of Emergency Medicine to ensure support for, and effective screening of, worried individuals, without inappropriately inundating healthcare resources; with the neurological societies to guarantee immediate care for affected individuals; and with NHS England to secure supplies of intravenous immunoglobulin for patients.
They also conducted interviews on television, radio and newspapers, with a careful balance so as not to jeopardise public confidence in the essential vaccination programme.
Lead: Sue Pavord, Oxford University Hospitals NHSFT Team: Will Lester, Marie Scully, Beverley Hunt, Mike Makris and Catherine Bagot