U.S. warns Pfizer, Moderna covid vaccine recipients to watch for enlarged heart

24 Juin, 2021, 13:54 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • It however urged vaccine recipients to be on the lookout for symptoms like chest pain shortness of breath

The CDC is planning what they described as an "emergency meeting" to discuss heart inflammation in teens and the World Health Organization now says children should not be vaccinated "for the moment" due to a lack of sufficient evidence weighing the risks versus benefits.

The risk of heart inflammation following mRNA vaccination in adolescents and young adults age 12-39 is notably higher a few days after the second dose of the vaccine and in men.

During the presentation, Dr. Matt Daly - chair of the ACIP COVID-19 vaccines working group - emphasized the strength of the USA vaccine safety monitoring system.

"The known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis [enlarged heart]".

Doctors and hospitals have been warned by the CDC to watch for symptoms of myocarditis or pericarditis, and the FDA warning will further raise awareness.

The CDC said it was still assessing the risk from the condition and did not specifically confirm a causal relationship between the vaccines and the heart issue. "Immunizers constantly update this information as new data is available".

"For anyone who's refusing a vaccine to hold out for another, know this: you're leaving yourself partially unprotected, your family partially unprotected and you're prolonging our reopening", he said.

"These cases are rare, and the vast majority have fully resolved with rest and supportive care", said CDC director Rochelle Walensky last week ahead of the meeting, which was initially scheduled for last Friday but postponed because of a new public holiday. Most cases have been mild, with symptoms like fatigue, chest pain and disturbances in heart rhythm that quickly clear up.

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Many patients have been hospitalized, "usually for short duration", the presentation slides note, which noted that there's no long-term data available yet.

At a briefing earlier on Wednesday morning, Toronto's vaccine task force chair Matthew Pegg said that the total number of people who are declining a vaccine after arriving for an appointment is "very, very low" and is not having a significant impact on the number of shots being administered. Researchers and officials are tracking the phenomenon closely, but so far they've found no cause for alarm.

In Israel, 275 cases of myocarditis were reported between December 2020 and May 2021 among more than five million vaccinated people, the country's health ministry said in early June.

The provincial immunization committee (CIQ) advises that Pfizer recipients can get their second shot with Moderna since both vaccines are mRNA vaccines and can be mixed.

The cases, while rare, have occurred mostly in male teens and young adults. "This effect, largely kind of disappears once you get into these older age groups - individuals 50 and over".

Currently, people who received their first dose on or before May 15 can get their second shot.

Pfizer, whose vaccine has been authorized for use in Americans as young as 12, previously said it had not observed a higher rate of heart inflammation than would normally be expected in the general population.

Given the J&J vaccine is similar to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which looks to protect against severe and deadly disease from the variant, the agency anticipates the J&J vaccine will also work well at preventing severe disease, she said.

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