Benefits of COVID vaccination still greatly outweigh the risks of myocarditis, CDC experts conclude

FDA to update warning label
Teen receives COVID vaccine
Posted at 6:10 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 21:37:24-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- As many as 1,200 cases of heart inflammation may have been triggered by the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, with a large portion in teens and adults under 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday.

Still, outside advisers to the CDC said the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks. The CDC found most of these rare cases of myocarditis were mild.

More than a dozen health organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association issued a joint statement urging parents to continue vaccinating their children.

“The facts are clear: this is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination. Importantly, for the young people who do, most cases are mild, and individuals recover often on their own or with minimal treatment,” read the statement, which was co-signed by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and U.S. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

The risk of myocarditis caused by a COVID-19 infection is much higher, the statement said.

In September, a San Diego woman named Cassie Martinez died from myocarditis caused by a COVID infection. There have been no confirmed deaths from myocarditis after vaccination, according to the CDC’s presentation.

As of mid-June, more than 300 million COVID shots have been adminiterested in the U.S. The CDC said it’s investigating 1,226 preliminary reports in its adverse events database of heart inflammation shortly after vaccination.

Most of the reports occurred in boys or young men between the ages of 12 and 24. In that group, there were about 50 to 60 cases of heart inflammation out of every million doses, significantly higher than the rate of cases that would be expected to occur from other causes.

The Food and Drug Administration plans to update its warning label, cautioning people to watch out for symptoms after days to a week after vaccination.

Myocarditis causes chest pain, fatigue and discomfort that may mimic some of the symptoms of a heart attack. It was most common after the second dose, with symptoms typically appearing about 3 or 4 days after the shot.

Doctors aren’t sure why it’s more common in boys than girls.

Overall, there were about 12.6 cases per million second doses administered, the CDC estimated.

Of the 323 confirmed cases in people under age 30, 91 percent were treated in the hospital and released. Only nine people remained hospitalized as of Wednesday, with two in the ICU, the CDC said.

The long-term effects of myocarditis are unknown, but exercise can make the condition worse, Dr. Olulade said.

If a child develops myocarditis, the American College of Cardiology recommends keeping them out of sports and vigorous exercise for three to six months to allow their heart to recover.