CCU002: SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination and the risk of vascular events

Project lead:
William Whiteley, University of Edinburgh

Coronavirus infection (‘COVID-19’) or vaccination against coronavirus might increase a person’s chance of having a stroke, heart attack or clot in the deep veins or lungs (‘blood vessel diseases’).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some doctors have looked after patients with COVID-19 who also had unusual strokes, clots or heart complaints. This suggests there could be a link between COVID-19 and blood vessel diseases. But no individual doctor will see enough patients to find out if COVID-19 really does increase the risk of blood vessel diseases.

To understand more, we will use healthcare records to study every person alive in England, Scotland and Wales at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. We will find out how many people had a stroke, heart attack, heart condition or other disease of the blood vessels over the following year.

We will compare the number of people with COVID-19 infection who developed a blood vessel disease with the number of people without COVID-19 infection who developed a blood vessel disease. Different types of people might have different risks, so we will also examine people of different ages, ethnicities and medical history.

The result of this research will be an estimate of how much COVID-19 increases the risk of different blood vessel diseases. This information is needed so that people with COVID-19 know whether they need to worry about blood vessel diseases as they recover. If this research shows there is an increased risk, then treatments might be needed to reduce this.


Following an urgent request from the MHRA and Chief Medical Officer, the analyses for this project will also address the urgent question of whether there is an association between the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and vascular events, including very rare blood clotting events and myocarditis/pericarditis.


Association of COVID-19 with major arterial and venous thrombotic diseases: a population-wide cohort study of 48 million adults in England and Wales

  • Circulation publication 19/09/22 can be viewed here
  • medRxiv preprint 24/11/21 can be viewed here
  • Code and phenotypes used to produce this paper are available in GitHub here

Association of COVID-19 vaccines ChAdOx1 and BNT162b2 with major venous, arterial, or thrombocytopenic events: A population-based cohort study of 46 million adults in England

  • PLOS Medicine publication 22/02/22 can be viewed here
  • medRxiv preprint 23/08/21 can be viewed here
  • Code and phenotypes used to produce this paper are available in GitHub here

Risk of myocarditis and pericarditis following BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 COVID-19 vaccinations

  • Paper submitted to a journal (decision pending)
  • medRxiv preprint 08/03/22 can be viewed here
  • Code and phenotypes used in this study are available in GitHub here