Heart reaction in 7 teenagers probed as possible rare Pfizer vaccine link


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — Health authorities are trying to determine whether heart inflammation that can occur along with many types of infections could also be a rare side effect in teens and young adults after the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

An article on seven U.S. teen boys in several states, published online Friday in Pediatrics, is among the latest reports of heart inflammation discovered after COVID-19 vaccination, though a link to the vaccine has not been proven.

The boys, aged 14 to 19, received Pfizer shots in April or May and developed chest pain within a few days. Heart imaging tests showed a type of heart muscle inflammation called myocarditis.

This comes as the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention continues its research into a small number of reports of heart inflammation in teens and young adults after the mRNA vaccines, the kind made by Pfizer and Moderna.

Dr. Cameron Wolfe, an infectious diseases expert at Duke, says there’s no need to be concerned. He says your chances of having myocarditis or heart inflammation is one in a million, with most reported cases coming from young men, but there’s no explanation why it’s happening to them specifically.

Experts also say there’s a greater chance of heart problems if you test positive for COVID-19.

“When you look at the evidence from, say, athletic groups or young adults, they, in fact, get COVID inflammatory effects of the hearts quicker than you’ll ever see with the vaccine, so it’s always risk in proportion to if you didn’t do it,” Wolfe said.

Only one of the seven boys in the Pediatrics report had evidence of a possible previous COVID-19 infection and doctors determined none of them had a rare inflammatory condition linked with the coronavirus.

This kind of heart inflammation can be caused by a variety of infections, including a bout of COVID-19, as well as certain medications — and there have been rare reports following other types of vaccinations.

A new CDC report shows the COVID-19 hospitalization rate for teenagers increased in March and April, so they’re encouraging people to take precautions and get the vaccine.

To read the study, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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