The CDC Just Confirmed This Condition Could Be a Delayed Vaccine Side Effect
The agency says this complication is mainly affecting younger men after vaccination.
COVID vaccination has been associated with a variety of relatively common side effects, none of them serious. Headache, fever, and fatigue can occur for anyone who gets one of the available COVID vaccines, and they should go away completely a few days after vaccination, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over the past few weeks, however, more and more reports have been surfacing about a potential delayed vaccine side effect mainly hitting younger men: heart inflammation. During a recent meeting to review data on cases of this potential complication, the CDC confirmed that there is a "likely association" between heart inflammation and COVID mRNA vaccines—especially in younger men.
During a meeting on June 23, the agency reviewed findings presented by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The ACIP revealed that there have been more than 1,200 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis in people who have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis is inflammation of the lining around the heart.
According to the data, there have been a total of 267 cases following the first vaccine dose and 827 cases following the second vaccine dose. Most of the cases have occurred in those who received the Pfizer vaccine.
The CDC says you should be on the lookout for any chest pain, shortness of breath, or feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart after receiving either of the two mRNA vaccines, as these could be signs of heart inflammation. "Seek medical care if you think you or your child have any of these symptoms within a week after COVID-19 vaccination," the agency states on its website.
"Clinical presentation of myocarditis cases following vaccination has been distinct, occurring most often within one week after dose two, with chest pain as the most common presentation," Grace Lee, MD, a member of the ACIP, said during the meeting.
The CDC says that the benefits of the COVID vaccines still outweigh the risk of heart inflammation, despite the likely association. "This is still a rare event," Tom Shimabukuro, MD, the deputy director of the CDC's Immunization Safety Office, confirmed during the meeting.
The CDC released a joint statement after the meeting with other major health officials and agencies, explaining that for the young people who do get heart inflammation after vaccination, "most cases are mild," and individuals are likely to recover on their own or with minimal treatment.
"In addition, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe," the health agencies said in their joint statement.
Rare or not, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on June 23 that they will be adding a warning about the inflammation cases to Pfizer and Moderna vaccine sheets, per Politico.