CDC set to hold emergency meeting to discuss heart inflammation in young people after COVID vaccine

CDC set to hold emergency meeting to discuss heart inflammation in young people after COVID vaccine
AP Photo/LM Otero
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An advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to hold an emergency meeting to examine reports of heart inflammation in adolescents after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The meeting is set to take place this week as reports emerge of myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscles. The inflammation has been seen in young men who have received their second dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, though Fox News reports that the inflammations are “very rare and have not been directly linked to the vaccines.”

“Preliminary findings suggest the number of heart inflammation cases in people ages 16 to 24 following the second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is higher than expected,” the Hill reported. “Limited data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine safety monitor system shows there have been 275 reported cases of myocarditis or pericarditis — inflammation conditions in the heart — in 16- to 24-year-old patients as of May 31. Most cases appear to occur in men.”

According to a CDC presentation prepared for a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel meeting on Thursday, the expected number of heart inflammation cases was between 10 and 102.

“It’s a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison because, again, these are preliminary reports. Not all these will turn out to be true myocarditis or pericarditis reports,” CDC’s Dr. Tom Shimabukuro said, according to CBS News. The doctor continued, saying that those who have reported the condition have made a full recovery. 

In a later panel discussion on Thursday, Dr. Cody Meissner said he was “worried” about the reports, wondering if there would be any scarring of the muscular tissue of the heart or arrhythmia as a result of the condition, CNBC reported.

“I think that’s unlikely, but we don’t know that,” said Meissner, a professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine. “So, before we start vaccinating millions of adolescents and children, it’s so important to find out what the consequences are.”

The CDC says COVID-19 vaccines are “safe and effective.”

“You may have side effects after vaccination. These are normal and should go away in a few days,” says the CDC. “It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. You are not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after the 2nd dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a one-dose vaccine.”

The CDC notes in its COVID-19 vaccine guidance:

Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe. COVID-19 vaccines cannot give you COVID-19. Learn more facts about COVID-19 vaccines.

CDC has developed a new tool, v-safe, to help us quickly find any safety issues with COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe is a smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines. Learn how the federal government is working to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

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