Myocarditis has a frightening sound, however it does have mild versions. In the majority of cases among vaccinated young people (ages 16 to 24), the symptoms have gone away quickly. Covid-19, however, can be a long illness, or it can kill a young person. It has already killed thousands of them.
Pediatric cardiologists Dr. Kevin Hall at the Yale School of Medicine and Dr. Stuart Berger at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who is also chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics section on cardiology and cardiac surgery, were asked about the cases of myocarditis that have been spotted among young people after vaccination with the Moderna or Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines.
Both doctors, as well as the American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend the Covid-19 vaccine for young people.
Myocarditis is relatively uncommon, but it has been known to occur in young people well before COVID- 19 became a pandemic. It has a broad spectrum of illness, with some having it but requiring no treatment while for others it may be deadly. It is generally associated with a viral or bacterial infection. And it has been known to be linked to the smallpox vaccine.
Berger estimates that at the emergency room where he works at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, under non-pandemic circumstances, they see approximately one child a week with the condition in the summer, when coxsackie and other viruses that cause myocarditis are in full bloom. Generally speaking, these young people are otherwise healthy.
As of May 31, nearly 170 million Americans had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Through that time, fewer than 800 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue around the heart) have been reported after receiving the vaccine.
According to the CDC, most of the diagnosis of myocarditis is after the second dose. And these are preliminary numbers — they might be lower as further investigation could show that not all of these people actually had myocarditis or pericarditis.
The CDC set out to determine if the numbers of post-vaccination myocarditis and pericarditis are higher than what you’d see without the Covid-19 vaccine.The answer was “yes” for people ages 16 to 24. The CDC found that among 16-and 17-year-olds, as of May 31, there were 79 reports of the illnesses soon after vaccination, and ordinarily you’d expect to see 2 to 19 cases in this group. Among 18-to-24 year olds, there were 196 reported cases, where the expected rate is between 8 and 83 cases.