COVID-19 Vaccine Benefits Outweigh Low Risk of Developing Myocarditis, Study Finds

Most of the suspected cases of myocarditis developed after the second dose of the vaccine and were among younger males.

The benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the low risk of developing myocarditis after receiving it, according to new research.

Last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified a likely association between the two COVID-19 mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, and cases of suspected myocarditis and pericarditis, the American Heart Association noted in a press release.

Most of the suspected cases of myocarditis developed after the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and were among younger males between the ages of 12 and 39 years old.

According to the new study, published on July 20 in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, the rates of suspected myocarditis/pericarditis were about 12.6 cases per million doses of the second dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine among 12 to 39 year-olds as of June 5, 2021.

The researchers also conducted a prevention analysis by comparing the rate of suspected myocarditis to the prevention of COVID-19, COVID-19-associated hospitalization, COVID-19 ICU admission and COVID-19-related death.

There is a known potential risk of complications with COVID-19 infection, including hospitalizations and death, even in younger adults, and mortality remains 0.1-1 per 100,000 for people 12 to 29 years old, the researchers said.

The risk-benefit decision remains overwhelmingly favorable for vaccination, the researchers wrote and is recommended for everyone 12 years of age and older.

“COVID-19 vaccination not only prevents COVID-19-related hospitalizations and death, but also COVID-19 related complications such as myocarditis, multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) and post-acute sequelae (i.e., consequences) of SARS-CoV-2 infection or long COVID-19,” the researchers wrote.

Still, the potential for myocarditis and pericarditis should be considered in individuals presenting with chest pain within a week after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, especially among adolescents, teens, and young adults.

Researchers conducted an analysis of data from the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and from multiple peer-reviewed scientific journal articles to compare vaccination rates to reports of myocarditis among people who received the COVID-19 vaccine through mid-June 2021.

They also found that most people suspected to have myocarditis presented with chest pain, usually two to three days after a second dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccination. Those affected and requiring hospitalization for suspected myocarditis were mostly young males (12 to 19 years old) without a prior history of COVID-19 or other health conditions.

Most patients were discharged from the hospital as their symptoms, diagnostic and imaging signs of the condition returned to normal, either with or without treatment.