An emergency meeting of US health experts will be held to discuss the suspected relationship between a severe heart ailment and the coronavirus vaccine.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices announced last month that it had investigated allegations that a few young vaccine recipients had experienced myocarditis, a heart muscle inflammation.
They claim the disease is uncommon, but they’re seeing more cases than they expected, which has prompted concern.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the meeting on Thursday, set for June 18, where its advisers will address cases of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, in those who’ve taken immunizations developed by Pfizer and Moderna.
As of Thursday, the agency said it had received 475 reports of the condition, 226 of which meet its own definition for myocarditis. Though most have since recovered, 41 patients have experienced ongoing symptoms, while three of the 15 still hospitalized remain in intensive care. No deaths have been reported to date.
Though a previous CDC notice said the cases of myocarditis were “rare,” affecting just a small fraction of nearly 130 million fully vaccinated people in the US, another document issued two weeks later noted that there was a “higher number… observed than expected,” namely in those aged 16-24. Most experienced symptoms after their second dose of the vaccine.
Tom Shimabukuro, a vaccine safety official for the CDC, told CBS News that some of the reported cases will likely be ruled out after closer review, though he added that the preliminary information is “consistent” with what Israeli researchers have found in vaccine recipients. Last week, Tel Aviv’s Health Ministry said the condition is likely linked to immunizations, particularly for young men.
While rare, other side effects have been tied to the coronavirus vaccines previously, with several reports of spinal cord inflammation known as transverse myelitis. As of late March, however, out of nearly 9,500 negative reactions reported to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), only nine cases of the condition were confirmed in recipients of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots, according to a study published in Oxford’s QJM journal.