CDC Panel Says Heart Inflammation Is Rare In Young People After Vaccination: NPR

CDC Panel Says Heart Inflammation Is Rare In Young People After Vaccination: NPR

CDC advisors met to discuss some of the side effects associated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The vaccines can cause temporary inflammation of the heart in a small number of recipients.


Advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met today to discuss some side effects related to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. In some young people, the gunshots appear to cause temporary inflammation in the heart. MediaFrolic’s Pien Huang is now joining us to speak about this. And we’ve heard reports of these heart problems in young people who have received COVID vaccines, but are there more details that you could find out today?

PIEN HUANG, BYLINE: Yes, absolutely. To date, there have been 323 confirmed cases of people developing these conditions, known as myocarditis and pericarditis, associated with the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine. So far it has not been seen to the same extent at Johnson & Johnson. And the conditions seem to be a rare immune reaction to the vaccine that sees someone develop inflammation of the heart, either the muscle itself or the lining around it. It seems more likely to happen with young people. There have been a few cases in young women, but most of the cases reported so far have included teenagers and men under 30. It usually occurs a few days to a week after someone receives the second dose of the vaccine. And based on the cases confirmed so far, about 13 young people develop this for every million doses given.

CORNISH: How serious are these cases of heart inflammation?

HUANG: Well, it’s definitely not a joke, but it seems like a state that people are completely recovering from. Patients have been hospitalized for this, but they usually get better within a few days and are only treated with anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Since it is a heart condition, some doctors might ask them not to exercise for three to six months afterwards just to make sure they are completely cured. But nobody died from it. And health experts pointed out to me that this vaccine-associated disease is rare, it is temporary and also much milder than the problems that can come with contracting COVID. You know, over 4,000 young people with COVID have developed a condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which is a very dangerous condition that can lead to long hospital stays or even death. And even those who get mild COVID-19 illness can end up with long-term breathing and heart problems. This is how Dr. Brian Feingold – he is a cardiologist at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital -.

BRIAN FEINGOLD: The things we do in life involve risks. And if you’re just playing with the odds and wanting to be the safest and statistically looking for the safest, it seems like the data is stacking up right now that the vaccines are absolutely the safer way to go.

HUANG: He applied this risk assessment to his own family. And his children, who are 12 and 16 years old, are both vaccinated now.

CORNISH: So this is a doctor, but what are the health authorities dealing with the vaccine, what do they recommend?

HUANG: Well, the CDC says that the benefits of the vaccine, both for individuals and for society as a whole, outweigh the risks for a few people of developing this temporary heart disease. But dr. Doran Fink, a representative for the Food and Drug Administration, said the agency plans to update the vaccine datasheets with some warnings about these heart conditions.

DORAN FINK: And based on the limited follow-up, most cases appear to have been linked to symptom resolution – that symptoms suggestive of myocarditis or pericarditis should prompt vaccine recipients to see a doctor.

HUANG: The most common symptoms were chest pain and difficulty breathing. So if someone develops these symptoms, health professionals say they should call their doctor right away or go to the emergency room where we will do some blood tests and an imaging of your heart to see what is wrong. The CDC still recommends that everyone 12 and older get vaccinated, including those with a history of heart problems. They say just see your doctor and make sure any symptoms you are having are resolved before you get an injection.

CORNISH: This is Pien Huang from MediaFrolic.

Thank you for your reporting.

HUANG: Thank you.


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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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