Pfizer's COVID Vaccine In Teens And Myocarditis: What You Need To Know - NPR
Jun 17, 2021 1 min, 53 secs
A teen gets a dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine last month at Holtz Children's Hospital in Miami.

teens and preteens (ages 12 through 17) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far, the CDC says.

teens and preteens (ages 12 through 17) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far.

Still, soon after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of Pfizer's vaccine in young people, federal agencies began receiving reports of mild chest pain or other signs of possible heart inflammation (known as myocarditis) in a small percentage of recently vaccinated teenagers?

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing Thursday that there have been more than 300 cases of heart inflammation reported among the millions of teens and young adults who have received one of the vaccines made by Moderna or Pfizer.

In 2003, a report in The New England Journal of Medicine estimated the background incidence of myocarditis to be 1.13 cases in 100,000 children per year.

Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of an FDA vaccine advisory committee, says there likely is a causal link between the heart inflammation some doctors are seeing in these teens and the second dose of vaccine.

About 1 in 1,000 children who get COVID-19 have gone on to develop a condition called MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children), says Offit, and most of those kids have had some level of myocarditis.

Which of the two stadiums in Offit's metaphor would have more cases of myocarditis — the vaccinated children or unvaccinated kids — is not known precisely.

"A choice not to get a vaccine is not a choice to avoid myocarditis," he says.

In the report, Guzman-Cottrill and her colleagues analyzed the cases of seven boys around the country who developed myocarditis within four days of receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Guzman-Cottrill suspects there may turn out to be a slightly increased risk of heart inflammation from vaccination in young people, but she and her co-authors note in the Pediatrics report that a direct cause-and-effect connection — even in these seven cases — has yet to be established.

"We really need a highly vaccinated student body when kids return to the classroom this fall," Guzman-Cottrill says, "so we don't see surges in COVID-19 cases."


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