CDC to hold ‘emergency meeting’ over cases of heart inflammation following second Covid vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced its Covid-19 vaccine advisory committee will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the rare reports of heart inflammation occurring in people after they received the second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna jab.

To date, the health agency has identified 226 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis occurring after vaccination in people younger than 30 years old, the CDC said on Thursday.

The vast majority of cases have recovered from the myocarditis or pericarditis, according to a Food and Drug Administration report, with 81 per cent of people already discharged and making a full recovery.

But 41 cases were still experiencing symptoms and 15 people were hospitalised, three of whom were in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Although concerning, the cases prove to be extremely rare given more than 130 million Americans have been fully vaccinated with either Pfizer or Moderna’s mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine.

But the CDC announced it would hold a meeting on 18 June to discuss the cases.

“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,” said Dr Tom Shimabukuro, a CDC vaccine safety official.

Normally, fewer than 100 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis would be expected in people between the ages of 18 and 24.

But teenagers and people in their 20s accounted for a majority of the cases reported to the CDC’s safety monitoring system for Covid-19 vaccinations, which Dr Shimabukuro called an “imbalance”.

The CDC is now working to gather more information and analysis about the cases ahead of the emergency meeting with advisers.

Myocarditis is a condition that causes inflammation of the heart muscle. It typically develops from a viral infection, and it can cause symptoms like fatigue, fever and chest pain.

Preliminary data indicates cases of heart issues following vaccination were happening in those ages 16 to 24, with young men impacted more than women. Most of the cases came after the second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine, the preliminary data revealed.

This information comes one month after Israel’s health ministry said there was a “probable link” between Pfizer’s vaccine and inflammation of the heart muscles in young men.

Pfizer is currently authorised for emergency use for children as young as 12 years old, while Moderna’s vaccine only has emergency authorisation for those 18 years or older. But Moderna is seeking emergency use authorisation from the FDA for those ages 12 to 17.

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