US experts review heart problems among teens after Covid shots

A panel of experts convened by the top US health agency was meeting Wednesday to review data surrounding more than 300 confirmed cases of heart inflammation among adolescents and young adults after receiving mRNA Covid vaccines, reports BSS.

The committee, hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will hear a risk-benefit analysis as researchers probe the shots’ probable links to myocarditis.

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The independent experts will hear from CDC scientists that “the benefits still clearly outweigh the risks for Covid-19 vaccination in adolescents and young adults,” according to slides posted on the agency’s website.

As of June 11, 323 people under the age of 29 who received mRNA Covid vaccines have had confirmed cases of heart inflammation, myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart lining, pericarditis, the experts were told.

Of these cases, 309 were hospitalized, of whom 295 were discharged, nine remain hospitalized with two in intensive care, and there is no outcome data for five cases.

The cases are predominantly among males, most occur after the second dose, and there are no confirmed deaths at this time.

More than 50 million doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines had been administered to young people aged 12-19 as of June 11.

While the case numbers are low, they are still higher than what would be expected in the age groups and the CDC is studying what the biological trigger might be.

“Myocarditis is a rare disease but it’s not a new disease, it’s been around for a while,” said Matthew Oster, a member of the CDC’s Covid vaccine task force.

“Traditionally there have been thought to have viral triggers, although there can be others. It does appear that mRNA vaccine may be a new trigger for myocarditis,” he added.

But according to CDC modelling based on data from late May, the risk-benefit profile still favors the use of Covid vaccines, even though young people are at lower risk of severe Covid compared to older people.

For every million second doses given to 12-to-17-year-old boys, 5,700 Covid cases, 215 hospitalizations, 71 ICU admissions and two deaths would be prevented across 120 days, according to the analysis. Between 56 to 69 cases of myocarditis would be expected.

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