An advisory group for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there is a ‘likely link’ between rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults and the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
In a presentation released on Wednesday, the COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Work Group discussed nearly 500 reports of the heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, in vaccinated adults under age 30.
The group of doctors said he risk of myocarditis or pericarditis following vaccination with the mRNA-based shots in adolescents and young adults is notably higher after the second dose and in males
It comes as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is set to meet this week to assess the possibility of a link between the heart condition and the mRNA vaccines.
According to the presentation, there have been 484 preliminary reports of myocarditis or pericarditis in young people under age 30 as of June 11.
So far, 323 have been confirmed by CDC and 148 are still under review.
In total, 309 patients were hospitalized, of which 295 were discharged and 79 percent have since recovered.
Nine patients are still hospitalized with two in intensive care units. There was no data available for five patients.
Males were much more likely to report heart inflammation after receiving a second dose than women.
As of June 11, there were 9.1 per million reported cases of myocarditis/pericarditis in females ages 12-to-17 compared to 66.7 per million in males of that age group.
What’s more, rates among females ages 18-to-24 and ages 25-to-29 were 5.5 per million and 2.6 per million respectively.
Ang males, rates were 56.3 per million for the 18-to-24 age group and 20.4 per million in the 25-to-29 group.
This type of heart inflammation can be caused by a variety of infections, including a bout of COVID-19, as well as certain medications.
With more than 90.6 million young Americans under age 30 who have received one or both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, it means just 0.000534 percent of people who have been administered the shots have reported such an effect.
The ACIP will discuss the benefits of the mRNA vaccines versus the potential risk to adolescents and young adults from the heart condition, according to the agency’s agenda.
The group is not expected to cast a vote on any issues regarding the vaccine rollout, but may issue an update on vaccine safety, the odds of myocarditis and a risk-benefit of analysis of vaccines in teens and young adults.
The CDC earlier this month said it was still evaluating the risk from the condition and did not confirm a causal relationship between the vaccines and the heart issue.
The agency, however, said a higher-than-expected number of young men have experienced heart inflammation after their second dose of the mRNA COVID-19 shots, with more than half the cases reported in people between the ages of 12 and 24.
Dr Tom Shimabukuro, deputy director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, said in a presentation that data from one of the agency’s safety monitoring systems – Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) – suggests a rate of 12.6 cases per million in the three weeks after the second shot in 12- to 39-year-olds.
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.
Moderna had said it could not identify a causal association with the heart inflammation cases and its vaccine.
Although health officials in Israel have also determined that there is likely a link between vaccination and the heart inflammation, concerns about the more infectious Indian ‘Delta’ variant have prompted the country to urge 12-to 15-year olds get vaccinated.