During today’s meeting, members of a CDC advisory committee acknowledged 1,200 cases of heart inflammation in 16- to 24-year-olds, and said mRNA COVID vaccines should carry a warning statement — but physicians and other public commenters accused the CDC of exaggerating the risk to young people of COVID, and minimizing the risk of the vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) said Wednesday there is a “likely association” of “mild” heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults after vaccination with an mRNA COVID vaccine and a warning statement is warranted.
According to a report by the COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Work Group, the risk of myocarditis or pericarditis following vaccination with the mRNA-based shots in adolescents and young adults is notably higher after the second dose and in males.
“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,” said Dr. Grace Lee, co-chair of VaST.
There have been more than 1,200 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis in 16- to-24-year-olds who received an mRNA COVID vaccine, according to a series of slide presentations published Wednesday at the ACIP meeting.
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle that can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and death. According to researchers at the National Organization for Rare Disorders, myocarditis can result from infections, but “more commonly the myocarditis is a result of the body’s immune reaction to the initial heart damage.”
Pericarditis is often used interchangeably with myocarditis and refers to inflammation of the pericardium, the thin sac surrounding the heart.
According to the CDC, men under 30 make up the bulk of the cases and most cases appeared to be mild. Of the 295 people who developed the condition and have been discharged, 79% have fully recovered, according to the presentation. Nine people were hospitalized, with two in intensive care as of June 11, according to the CDC.