Health officials are looking into reports of myocarditis – a heart problem – a few young people have received after getting the COVID-19 shot.
Within the past month, the Children’s National Hospital has seen two cases in older teens. Symptoms of the condition include: chest pain, shortness of breath, and a fast heart rate a feeling like your heart is skipping a beat.
The CDC has not released how many cases they’re investigator total, but Dr. Alexandra Yonts, an Infectious Disease Physician at the Children’s National Hospital, believes there are probably dozens – according to reports from other physicians.
"Myocarditis is rare – even outside of vaccination – and even more so with – but there is some plausibility behind the biology that makes it conceivable," said Dr. Yonts. "Any time there is a really strong immune response to a vaccine or infection – which we know is the case with the COVID-19 vaccine given their excellent protection – there is an increased chance of these side effects happening soon after."
What exactly is myocarditis? According to Dr. Yonts, it is an inflammation of the heart that lowers its ability to pump blood normally.
Here is what we know about the cases the CDC is looking into:
-Predominately found in teens from 16 years old to young adults in their 20s
-4 days after the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine
-More common in men than women
Fox 5 asked Dr. Yonts why some young people are experiencing with this. She said she CDC is still figuring out the exact cause. The reviews of the reports are in the early stages. It is not clear if the condition is specifically linked to the vaccine.
"There are precedents with this – so other vaccines have been associated with myocarditis in the past. In particular, the small pox vaccine back in the 70s. There are theories that it has to do with the immune response to the vaccine rather than anything about the vaccine itself," said Dr. Yonts.
Doctors are asking parents to monitor their children after they get the vaccine. If they develop any symptoms, they should see a cardiologist right away.
Dr. Yonts wants to make it clear that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
She adds most children who suffered from the heart problem had no prior health issues.