Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Causing Heart Inflammation in Children?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is looking into reported cases of a heart condition called myocarditis in patients who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. After several cases were reported, the CDC launched an investigation into the cause of this condition.
What is myocarditis?
Myocarditis is a condition marked by inflammation of the muscular layer of the heart wall. In most cases, myocarditis can be treated and the heart will return to normal function. In more severe cases, and when left untreated, myocarditis can leave permanent damage or even result in a heart transplant.
Symptoms of myocarditis include:
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations (abnormal rhythm)
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
Is myocarditis linked to the COVID-19 vaccine?
The CDC has not found a direct link between the reported cases of myocarditis and the COVID-19 vaccine. As the investigation continues, the CDC will determine whether these cases are related to the vaccine or purely coincidental.
Cases have been reported more in boys than girls, and signs of this condition typically appear within four days of receiving the vaccine. Myocarditis is most commonly seen in this age group in children who have not received any recent vaccines. Reported symptoms include mostly mild heart problems, so the CDC recommends that parents of the patients monitor for other common symptoms like those listed above.
Should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes! The number of cases of myocarditis reported after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is less than the number of cases of myocarditis that would occur naturally in a general population of youths.
Keep in mind that the benefits of getting the vaccine far outweigh the risks, especially given the fact that COVID-19 itself can cause myocarditis in those affected. There have been over 3,500 cases of severe inflammatory syndromes, including myocarditis, in children due to the COVID-19 virus.
In May 2021, the Food and Drug Administration extended emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine to children 12 through 15 years of age. The CDC is continuing to urge all who are eligible to get the vaccine. To learn more, visit Ochsner.org/vaccine.