Do the benefits of COVID vaccination outweigh the risk of heart inflammation in the young?

With the new reports on heart inflammation in young people receiving the mRNA COVID vaccines, parents are appropriately worried. Should their kids take the vaccine or not?

As of today, there are some preliminary answers to these questions:

  1. The CDC says the benefits of COVID vaccination dramatically outweigh the risks of heart inflammation in young people.
  2. This is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination (the estimated rate is 12.6 cases per million in the three weeks after the second shot in 12- to 39-year-olds).
  3. Importantly, for the young people who do, most cases are mild, and individuals recover often on their own or with minimal treatment.
  4. In addition, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe.

NBC News reported, “The benefits of [COVID] vaccination far outweigh the risks of heart inflammation in young people, according to a panel of independent advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Nonetheless, “members of the group, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, agreed that a warning about the potential risk should be added to the Food and Drug Administration’s official fact sheets on the vaccines.”

The Washington Post reported, “The CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services, together with 15 of the country’s leading medical and public health organizations – including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Nurses Association – issued a joint statement after the meeting saying they “strongly encourage everyone 12 and older” to get the shots because the benefits far outweigh any potential harms.”

These professional groups add:

The vaccines are safe and effective, and they prevent COVID-19 illness.

They will help protect you and your family and keep your community safe.

We strongly encourage everyone age 12 and older who are eligible to receive the vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization to get vaccinated, as the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any harm.

Especially with the troubling Delta variant increasingly circulating, and more readily impacting younger people, the risks of being unvaccinated are far greater than any rare side effects from the vaccines.

If you get COVID-19, you could get severely ill and be hospitalized or even die.

Even if your infection is mild, you or your child could face long-term symptoms following COVID-19 infection such as neurological problems or diminished lung function.

Meanwhile, in a separate presentation, Reuters reports, “Rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults are likely linked to vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech, and Moderna COVID-19 shots, a group of doctors advising the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.”

In the report, “the COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Work Group said … that the 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.”

Finally, Bloomberg Law reports, “The benefits of messenger RNA [COVID] vaccines clearly outweigh the risks despite heart complications seen in a relatively small number of mostly young men, according to the” CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Tuesday. About 1,200 cases of myocarditis occurred in individuals who received mRNA vaccines, but “with about 296 million doses of mRNA vaccines having been administered as of June 11, the benefit is clear in all populations, including adolescents and young adults, the researchers reported.”

This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus and the COVID vaccine develops, the information above may have changed since it was last updated. While I aim to keep all of my blogs on COVID and the COVID vaccine up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.


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