On May 17, a vaccine safety group presented reports of myocarditis (a heart condition) to CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The data has been collected by the Department of Defence, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and Vaccine Safety Datalink. These reports pertain to the occurrence of heart problems in young adults/ teenagers who have received mRNA-COVID-19 vaccines.
Investigations On-Going For Teens Found With Heart Inflammations Post Two-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine
A few weeks ago, the FDA gave the authorization to vaccinate minors above age 12 with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna’s vaccine is authorized for those above 18 years of age. Now, health officials are looking into the reports and investigating the causes behind them. The vaccine safety group has not specified which vaccine was given in the above cases.
Story behind it
It has been specified by the vaccine safety group that the cases of myocarditis are relatively few and appears to be mild, below expected baseline rates.
The heart condition is noticed in young adults, and teenagers appear more often in men than women. Symptoms were seen around four days from the second vaccine dose.
Investigations are ongoing and the vaccine safety group is keeping up with any further developments.
What is myocarditis?
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle. It affects the heart’s electrical system and reduces the ability of the heart to pump blood. Children will exhibit the following symptoms:
- Breathing difficulties
- Rapid breathing
Dr Lawrence Kleinman, professor and vice-chair of the Department of Paediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, says, “It’s not common (in children), but neither is it a rare thing where its presence can be said to be definitively associated with the vaccine.”
Dr. Federico Laham, medical director for Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children Infectious Diseases, asserts that many viruses, including COVID-19, can cause myocarditis. Cases of myocarditis were observed in children with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome during the pandemic.
Health experts are of the opinion that the few cases reported by the vaccine safety group may not be related to the vaccine but could have other causes such as asymptomatic COVID-19 infection or any other spring/ summer seasonal viruses.
Future of vaccine
Health experts believe that the CDC is not likely to pause mRNA vaccines, unlike what happened with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In that case, CDC was investigating rare blood clots that could be related to the vaccine.
Approximately 155 million Pfizer vaccine doses and 122 million Moderna vaccine doses have been administered to Americans till May 24. Most of the vaccines administered has been mRNA vaccines.
Kleinman believes, “We don’t have the luxury of being able to take a full time out because the dynamic of COVID spread is still very real and children remain a large unvaccinated reservoir.” Laham also believes that the cases are too few to be a reason for stopping or changing the course of vaccine recommendations.
The vaccine safety group have submitted the report with the conclusion that information of the potential adverse situation should be provided to medical personnel. This is to “enhance early recognition and appropriate management of persons who develop myocarditis symptoms following vaccination.”