STAT NEWS – U.S. scientists said Wednesday that there was a “likely association” between mRNA Covid-19 vaccines and an elevated risk of heart issues in adolescents and young adults, the strongest statement yet on the link between the two.
The evidence presented Wednesday echoes what other experts and health officials in other countries have identified:
that younger groups, particularly men under 30, have higher rates of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) following vaccination with the shots from Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech. Most cases have occurred soon after the second shot of the two-dose regimens.
Overall, cases of both conditions appear to be a rare side effect of the vaccines, though the rates vary depending on sex and age, health officials said in presentations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Most of the patients with confirmed cases were hospitalized, though most did not need serious care and have subsequently been discharged.
Officials said they are planning to add warnings about myocarditis and details about symptoms to Covid-19 vaccine fact sheets provided to administrators of the shots and people who get them.
They also said they are still collecting and analyzing data on cases.
The focus on myocarditis comes as federal health agencies and their outside expert advisers continue to monitor for side effects of vaccines, particularly as they consider recommending the shots for younger populations in the coming months.
Federal health agencies currently recommend Covid-19 vaccines for people 12 and older, and Sara Oliver of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases reiterated Wednesday that even with the risk of myocarditis, “the benefits still clearly outweigh the risks for Covid-19 vaccination in adolescents and young adults.”
As they weigh their vaccine recommendations, experts are also grappling with changing levels of Covid-19 risk depending on the amount of virus in communities, and with major differences geographically … Click here to read more.