Pfizer and Moderna vaccine update
On June 25, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a small number of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine recipients experienced heart inflammation side effects. This finding of a rare complication highlights the vigilant monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has continued recommending COVID-19 vaccinations, explaining that the vaccine prevents thousands of cases of death and disease, while myocarditis is rare and responds well to minimal treatment.
Side effects from the vaccines such as sore arms, headaches, or fatigue are normal and temporary. “These are all signs that the body’s immune system is building up protection,” according to the Washington State Department of Health. Any unusual or serious side effects are reported to the FDA and CDC for close monitoring.
The CDC reported 1,200 people, most of whom were young men between 16 to 39 years old, that experienced myocarditis (heart inflammation) or pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart) about a week after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. There have been over 319 million doses of both vaccines administered in the United States.
Deepa Yerram, MD | ICHS Interim Chief Medical Officer
There is no comparison between deadly consequences of contracting COVID-19 infection and the minor chances of getting a side effect from the COVID-19 mRNA vaccination.
Over 175 million people have received a COVID-19 vaccine. These cases represent a fraction of a percent (0.0006%) of all vaccine recipients. Furthermore these cases of heart inflammation are treatable and usually mild. To be clear about all potential side effects, the FDA has added heart inflammation as a potential side effect and what symptoms recipients should look for.
Yerram shares that the COVID-19 infection has “substantially higher chances of causing Myocarditis.” In a recent study, 2.3% to 7.4% of young athletes who became infected with COVID-19 developed myocarditis.
Other known long-term effects of contracting COVID-19 include fatigue, blood clots, difficulty breathing, and damage to the heart, lungs, and brain. For Yerram, “the math is simple here. It is still way riskier getting COVID-19 versus getting the vaccination!”
What this means for COVID-19 vaccine recipients
According to the FDA and CDC issued guidance last week for patients and medical professionals, Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine recipients should seek medical attention if they have the following symptoms within a week after COVID-19 vaccination:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling a fast-beating, pounding heart rate
Symptoms of myocarditis and pericarditis tend to begin within a few days following the second dose. Individuals who have had myocarditis in the past should consult with their healthcare provider if they have questions about the vaccine.
ICHS continues to offer COVID-19 vaccines
ICHS continues to work with public health officials and community partners to administer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Individuals may walk-up to ICHS clinic pharmacies at the International District, Holly Park, and Shoreline clinics during normal business hours. No appointment necessary. Individuals may call Bellevue Clinic at 206-788-3700 to make an appointment.