New Report Details Possible Rare Side Effect of COVID Vaccine

Teens are showing heart inflammation after 2nd dose, CDC says there's still no definite link
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 4, 2021 8:20 AM CDT
New Report Emerges on Teen Heart Issues After COVID Vaccine
In this May 15, 2021, file photo, empty vials of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine lie in a box during a vaccine campaign in Ebersberg, Germany, near Munich.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)

Health authorities are trying to determine whether heart inflammation that can occur along with many types of infections could also be a rare side effect in teens and young adults after the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. An article on seven US teen boys in several states, published online in Pediatrics, is among the latest reports of heart inflammation discovered after COVID-19 vaccination, though a link to the vaccine hasn't been proven, the AP notes. The boys, ages 14 to 19, received Pfizer shots in April or May and developed chest pain within a few days. Heart imaging tests showed a type of heart muscle inflammation called myocarditis. None were critically ill. All were healthy enough to be sent home after two to six days in the hospital and are doing "doing pretty well," said Dr. Preeti Jaggi, an Emory University infectious disease specialist who co-authored the report.

She said more follow-up is needed to determine how the seven fare, but that it's likely the heart changes were temporary. The cases echo reports from Israel in young men diagnosed after receiving Pfizer shots. The CDC alerted doctors last month that it was monitoring a small number of reports of heart inflammation in teens and young adults after the mRNA vaccines, the kind made by Pfizer and Moderna. The agency hasn't determined if there's really a link to the shots and continues to urge that everyone 12 and older get vaccinated against COVID-19, which is far riskier than the vaccine. This kind of heart inflammation can be caused by various infections, including COVID-19, as well as certain meds—and there have been rare reports after other types of vaccinations. A Pediatrics editorial said the heart inflammation cases warrant more investigation but added that "the benefits of vaccination against this deadly and highly transmissible disease clearly far outweigh any potential risks."

(More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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