Pfizer vaccine and rare myocarditis in young people, there is a “possible link”

Pfizer vaccine and rare myocarditis in young people, there is a “possible link”
Pfizer vaccine and rare myocarditis in young people, there is a “possible link”

There is a “possible link” between the Pfizer anti-covid vaccine and rare myocarditis reported in immunized youth. This was reported by a report presented to the Ministry of Health in Israel. The document contains a first data on the frequency of these events: between 1 in 3,000 and one in 6,000 boys (boys) aged 16 to 24 who received the vaccine developed myocarditis. The researchers, according to what is reported in the journal ‘Science’ online, say that this vaccine appears to put young people at “high risk of developing inflammation of the heart muscle” in question. But most of the cases were mild and resolved within a few weeks, as is typical for myocarditis.

“I can’t imagine it’s going to be something that would lead doctors to say we shouldn’t vaccinate children,” says Douglas Diekema, pediatrician and bioethicist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Israeli health officials first raised the issue in April, when they reported more than 60 cases, mostly in young men who had received their second dose of the vaccine a few days earlier. Around the same time, the US Department of Defense began monitoring 14 such cases.

In mid-May, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also said they were looking into cases of myocarditis. And again in May, the European Medicines Agency Ema also declared that it had received 107 reports of myocarditis post vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech, or about one in 175,000 doses administered. Diekema studied the risk-benefit relationships: even if it holds a link between myocarditis and vaccine, the condition is usually mild and requires treatment only with anti-inflammatory drugs, while Covid infection can cause serious illness and long-term side effects too. in young people, it is reasoning.

After the rapid start of the anti-Covid vaccination, in January in Israel to monitor the Ministry of Health, a group of experts led by Dror Mevorach (Hadassah University Medical Center), who tells ‘Science’ that he and his colleagues identified 110 cases of myocarditis among 5 million people who received two doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine in the month prior to diagnosis. This translates into about one in 50,000 vaccinated, which is of no concern when compared to the baseline rate of myocarditis in the general population, a condition typically triggered by viral or bacterial infections, including Covid.

But the rate of post-vaccination myocarditis among young men was higher. Ninety percent of the cases detected in Israel involved males, and although myocarditis is usually more common among young people, the percentage among those vaccinated was between 5 and 25 times the baseline, the report said. Two cases of fatal myocarditis have also been reported in Israel, but the panel says investigations into those deaths have been inconclusive. The new analysis “is very suggestive of a causal nature” between the vaccine and myocarditis, says Mevorach who defines himself “convinced that there is a relationship”. Diekema points out, however, that “although this relationship is suggestive” of a link, “it requires validation in other populations by other researchers before we can be certain that the link exists.”

Other factors could be at play, Diekema muses: For example, now that the kids are back to socialize and play sports, his hospital’s emergency room is “looking at more viral diseases than we have seen in a year” and “I would expect. to see a small increase in myocarditis compared to a year ago. ” Ideally, scientists should simultaneously compare cohorts of vaccinated and unvaccinated young people, he concludes.

Meanwhile, in the US, cases of myocarditis following the Moderna vaccine are also being investigated. One hypothesis is that the high levels of antibodies that both mRna vaccines generate in young people may in rare cases lead to an overreaction that inflames the heart. And the question is whether delaying the second dose of the vaccine could reduce any potential risk. Several countries have lengthened the interval between the two doses and this could be an opportunity to find out. Just as we think about the reduction of the dose in young people. Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, among other things, are now being tested at lower doses in children under 12, with results expected in the coming months.

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