Early in 2021, many people began sharing that they experienced unexpected menstrual bleeding after SARS-CoV-2 inoculation. We investigated this emerging phenomenon of changed menstrual bleeding patterns among a convenience sample of currently and formerly menstruating people using a web-based survey. In this sample, 42% of people with regular menstrual cycles bled more heavily than usual, while 44% reported no change after being vaccinated. Among respondents who typically do not menstruate, 71% of people on long-acting reversible contraceptives, 39% of people on gender-affirming hormones, and 66% of postmenopausal people reported breakthrough bleeding. We found that increased/breakthrough bleeding was significantly associated with age, systemic vaccine side effects (fever and/or fatigue), history of pregnancy or birth, and ethnicity. Generally, changes to menstrual bleeding are not uncommon or dangerous, yet attention to these experiences is necessary to build trust in medicine.
Vaccines derived from chimpanzee adenovirus Y25 (ChAdOx1), human adenovirus type 26 (HAdV-D26), and human adenovirus type 5 (HAdV-C5) are critical in combatting the severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. As part of the largest vaccination campaign in history, ultrarare side effects not seen in phase 3 trials, including thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a rare condition resembling heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), have been observed. This study demonstrates that all three adenoviruses deployed as vaccination vectors versus SARS-CoV-2 bind to platelet factor 4 (PF4), a protein implicated in the pathogenesis of HIT. We have determined the structure of the ChAdOx1 viral vector and used it in state-of-the-art computational simulations to demonstrate an electrostatic interaction mechanism with PF4, which was confirmed experimentally by surface plasmon resonance. These data confirm that PF4 is capable of forming stable complexes with clinically relevant adenoviruses, an important step in unraveling the mechanisms underlying TTS.