“As physicians, nurses, pharmacists, public health and health care professionals, and, for many of us, parents, we understand the significant interest many Americans have in the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, especially for younger people,” the groups said in a statement released in late June. “Today, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met to discuss the latest data on reports of mild cases of inflammation of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue called myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination among younger people.”
“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. In addition, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe.”
A Defense Health Agency case series looked at 23 male patients, including 22 previously healthy military-service members, reporting that myocarditis was identified within 4 days of receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Still, according to the report in JAMA Cardiology, “While the observed number of myocarditis cases was small, the number was higher than expected among male military members after a second vaccine dose.”
“In this case series, myocarditis occurred in previously healthy military patients with similar clinical presentations following receipt of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine,” researchers conclude. “Further surveillance and evaluation of this adverse event following immunization is warranted. Potential for rare vaccine-related adverse events must be considered in the context of the well-established risk of morbidity, including cardiac injury, following COVID-19 infection.”
Sandra Leal, PharmD, MPH, APhA president, joined others in a statement advising, “The vaccines are safe and effective, and they prevent COVID-19 illness. They will help protect you and your family and keep your community safe. We strongly encourage everyone aged 12 years and older who is eligible to receive the vaccine under Emergency-Use Authorization to get vaccinated, as the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any harm. Especially with the troubling Delta variant increasingly circulating, and more readily impacting younger people, the risks of being unvaccinated are far greater than any rare side effects from the vaccines. If you get COVID-19, you could get severely ill and be hospitalized or even die. Even if your infection is mild, you or your child could face long-term symptoms following COVID-19 infection such as neurological problems or diminished lung function.”
In addition to Dr. Leal, signers were from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American Heart Association, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, Association of Public Health Laboratories, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Big Cities Health Coalition, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and National Association of County and City Health Officials.
“We recommend getting vaccinated right away if you haven’t yet. It is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, your community, and to return to a more normal lifestyle safely and quickly,” according to the document.
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