Story at a glance

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating reports that young adults and adolescents who received COVID-19 vaccines experienced heart inflammation after their second doses.
  • The small number of myocarditis cases have occurred primarily in adolescent or young adult males after their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • “Within CDC safety monitoring systems, rates of myocarditis reports in the window following COVID-19 vaccination have not differed from expected baseline rates,” the CDC report states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating reports that young adults and adolescents who received COVID-19 vaccines experienced heart inflammation after their second doses.

The agency’s Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Work Group said in its May 17 report that a small number of myocarditis cases have occurred primarily in adolescent or young adult males after their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Cases typically occur within four days of the dose, according to the report. 

“Within CDC safety monitoring systems, rates of myocarditis reports in the window following COVID-19 vaccination have not differed from expected baseline rates,” said the agency in the report. “However, VaST members felt that information about reports of myocarditis should be communicated to providers.”


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Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York told The New York Times that it may be “coincidence that some people are developing myocarditis after vaccination.”

“It’s more likely for something like that to happen by chance, because so many people are getting vaccinated right now,” Gounder said. 


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Meanwhile, Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Reuters that vaccines can cause the inflammation and that it’s important for researchers to look for a link between the COVID-19 vaccines and the new cases. But vaccine benefits outstrip the risk, according to Adalja.

"Vaccines are going to unequivocally be much more beneficial outweighing this very low, if conclusively established, risk," Adalja told Reuters. 

VaST maintained that “cases appear to be mild,” and follow-up is “on-going.” 


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Published on May 24, 2021