An advisory committee with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is meeting next week to discuss several reports of heart inflammation, particularly in young men, following them receiving doses of the Moderna and Pfzier/BioNtech Covid-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, the agency said.
Instances are extremely rare, accounting for 226 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis among 141 million fully vaccinated people in the US. Myocarditis is a type of inflammation of the heart muscle, pericarditis is inflammation of the outer lining of the heart. Fewer than 100 cases of heart inflammation would be typical for this age group.
A potential link between the conditions and vaccines using innovative mRNA technology were confirmed by Tom Shimabukuro, deputy director of the CDC’s immunization safety office, during a meeting with an advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“We clearly have an imbalance there,” said Shimabukuro during the meeting. Of the 221 cases the CDC had recovery information on, a majority have fully recovered.
A total of 41 patients are still experiencing some symptoms and 15 are still hospitalized. Three patients are being treated in intensive care units, two of whom had existing co-morbid health conditions.
While the instances of heart inflammation occurred typically a few days after vaccination in people under the age of 30, scientists are still investigating the potential link.
The reports on the heart inflammation are also only preliminary. “Not all these will turn out to be true myocarditis or pericarditis reports,” said Shimabukuro to CBS.
The CDC had been investigating previous reports of heart inflammation following reported cases and has put some information on its website.
Israel’s health ministry also investigated cases of heart inflammation in young men who received mRNA vaccines. The ministry confirmed a link between rare instances of heart inflammation and the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
Of the more than 141 million people who have been vaccinated in the US, people between 12-24 represent just 9% of vaccinations. The CDC and public health officials still recommend anyone over the age of 12 get their vaccinations, because the risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19 outweighs that of rare potential side-effects.