Young men are experiencing heart inflammation at a rate that is higher than expected after receiving the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for covid-19 which use messenger RNA technology, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The inflammation is occurring mostly in young men ages 12-24 after receiving their second mRNA vaccine dose, Reuters reported. The CDC began investigating the matter after Israel’s Health Ministry reported it had discovered a possible link between myocarditis or pericarditis and the vaccine doses in young men.
According to the CDC, over half the heart inflammation cases reported to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) were in young men in the aforementioned age group. “We clearly have an imbalance there,” Deputy Director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office Dr. Tom Shimabukuro told an advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Thursday.
In terms of numbers, “there were 283 observed cases of heart inflammation after the second vaccine dose in those aged 16 to 24 in the VAERS data” which is higher than the CDC’s “expectations of 10-to-102 cases for that age range based on U.S. population background incidence rates,” Reuters reported.
There were also increased reports of heart inflammation occurrence in people ages 16-39 after receiving their second vaccine dose in comparison to their first dose.
“We’re still learning about the rates of myocarditis and pericarditis,” Shimabukuro said, according to the Washington Post. “As we gather more information, we’ll begin to get a better idea of the post-vaccination rates and hopefully be able to get more detailed information by age group.”
Pfizer has come out in support of the CDC’s assessment. “It is important to understand that a careful assessment of the reports is ongoing and it has not been concluded that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines cause myocarditis or pericarditis,” Pfizer said in a statement.
While the CDC says the cases of heart inflammation are rare, the agency is planning an emergency meeting with its advisers on June 18 to further address the issue.
Of the overall cases reported, the CDC said most people have recovered, however, there are 41 with ongoing symptoms, 15 in the hospital and three in intensive care.