Small number of young people with heart problems after COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 3:19 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Now that 12- and 15- year olds are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, doctors want to see more people getting those shots. But, a CDC advisory committee is investigating after some teenagers and young adults getting the vaccine are experiencing heart problems.

That committee is looking into a small number of young adults and teenagers experiencing myocarditis, which is basically an inflammation of the heart muscle.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reports the problem does go away without complications. The heart problems can be caused by a variety of viruses, but State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said it’s still uncommon.

“The numbers are so small. This is a condition that normally happens in any age group, younger age groups, especially, anyway,” Harris said.

Harris and the CDC advisory group all agreed viruses are known to cause myocarditis and should be monitored. The heart conditions can appear four days after receiving the shots. The nation of Israel is looking at a small number of cases. Pfizer has not seen a higher case load than what’s seen in the general population.

“Obviously shows that it’s a concern they are bringing it up and looking into it. It doesn’t give us any unreasonable concern right now, but certainly needs to be investigated,” Harris said.

The demand for vaccinations continues to drop in Alabama. Harris said a parent or anyone has a concern or question, they should contact their doctor.

Harris believes even though the number of these instances are small, this could impact some getting the vaccine.

“Clearly this will be the reason some people will choose to wait. I think our advice has been the same if you have concerns this is safe, or if you have concerns this is right for you or your child, please talk to your doctor,” Harris said.

One vaccine researcher at Johns Hopkins was reported to say the vaccines are more beneficial than the low risk of heart problems.

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