Teens across the country are now getting vaccinated with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at a speedy rate, and it seems some are experiencing a side effect. A vaccine safety group from the CDC is looking into reports of heart conditions developing in vaccinated teens, and here’s everything we know so far about the rare side effect.
Two vaccine safety groups affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Work Group, have been investigating cases of teens developing a heart condition known as myocarditis after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine. The report did not specify which vaccine these teens and young adults had received, although the Moderna vaccine has only been approved for adults above the age of 18 while the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 and up.
The report noted that there are “relatively few” cases of vaccinated teens and young adults developing myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart tissue that causes the heart to beat irregularly. The condition seems to be more prevalent in males than females, and it tends to occur within four days of the second vaccination.
The CDC advisory committee concluded, “Information about this potential adverse event should be provided to clinicians to enhance early recognition and appropriate management of persons who develop myocarditis symptoms following vaccination.”
Dr. Lawrence Kleinman, a pediatrics professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, told USA Today that myocarditis is “not common (in children) but neither is it a rare thing where its presence can be said to be definitively associated with the vaccine.”
A Kenmore, Washington-area teen named Evan Morud was one such case. He told KIRO7 News that he had “no medical record of any kind” before developing myocarditis, but 48 hours after receiving his second Pfizer shot, he started to develop chest pains. “I felt like my chest was really tight and my throat was really swollen up, like my lymph nodes and neck,” Morud said. “I was winded just standing up from a sitting position.”
Fortunately Evan went to the emergency room and was treated for the condition. And despite his experience, he still supports getting vaccinated. “I just want people to know what to watch for,” Evan said.
Knowledge is power, after all.