Very rare cases of heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis) have been an issue since the first corona vaccines were approved. Individual cases are documented in the safety reports of the responsible Paul Ehrlich Institute. When approving the Biontech vaccine for twelve-year-olds, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) indicated that it continues to investigate very rare cases of myocarditis, most of which have occurred in people under the age of 30. The US health authority Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommended a further investigation. Seven cases in the USA are known from a corresponding observational study. It was vaccinated with the vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna. What is the background?
Young men with myocarditis in Israel and the United States
The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported in its online edition on April 25, 2021 that cases of myocarditis occurred close to corona vaccinations with the vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer. On June 2, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Health issued a press release. According to this, 148 cases of myocarditis after vaccinations occurred from December 2020 to May 2021. 27 cases occurred after the first dose, in 5,401,150 million people vaccinated. 121 cases occurred after the second dose, in 5,049,424 persons vaccinated. Those affected were almost exclusively male and between 16 and 19 years old. Most were hospitalized for up to four days. 95 percent of myocarditis were mild and healed without complications. Israel continues to recommend vaccination for this age group and has now extended the vaccination age to 12 to 15 year olds.
On May 27, 2021, the CDC announced that there were few cases of myocarditis in the United States in predominantly young men aged 16 and over. Here, too, the courses were mild and healed without complications.
Pfizer: No further cases of myocarditis noticed worldwide after vaccination
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which works with Biontech in the manufacture of the vaccine Comirnaty, has been informed of the cases of myocarditis in Israel. In April 2021, it said there that no further cases of myocarditis had been noticed worldwide.
In an Israeli health report, quoted by the Jerusalem Post, it is noted that this could also be due to the fact that not as many young people worldwide have been vaccinated as in Israel. In the meantime, some myocarditis cases from the USA, Spain and Germany have become known.
Phase IV study in Israel reveals rare side effects
The inflammation of the myocardium attracted attention because Israel has already vaccinated an above-average number of people in a global comparison and quickly passes the relevant health data on to Biontech / Pfizer. This is possible because Israel has digitized the medical data of its entire population.
For the exchange of information about the effectiveness of the corona vaccination, the country was preferably supplied with the vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer. Only in this way was it possible to carry out large-scale vaccination campaigns and now vaccinate almost 60 percent of the population (9.3 million inhabitants) completely against corona. There are seldom so many patients for a so-called phase IV study. In these, approved drugs are specifically checked and checked for rare side effects.
Heart muscle inflammation – 16 unclear cases reported in Germany
In Germany, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) monitors the safety of vaccines and biomedical drugs. In safety reports, the PEI regularly informs about all suspected cases of side effects or events in connection with the vaccination against Covid-19 reported in Germany. By April 30, 2021, according to the PEI, “a total of 16 cases were reported in which myocarditis was diagnosed in connection with a vaccination against the COVID-19 disease. (…) The majority of the reports lack information possible alternative causes (e.g. virus infections), concomitant illnesses, diagnosis and course of illnesses. Therefore, no medical evaluation of the reports is possible. Based on the available data from Germany, no risk signal can currently be seen. ” According to the PEI, the first symptoms appeared in twelve of the 16 cases within a week of vaccination.
When asked by BR, the PEI said that a new report was planned for this week. Heart muscle inflammation after corona vaccinations will also be a topic.
Post-vaccination myocarditis and viral infections are not uncommon
In general, it is not uncommon for myocarditis to occur after vaccinations and viral infections. According to the PEI, this occurs in 15 percent of patients after a viral infection. The cardiologist Dirk Westermann from the University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE) said when asked by BR, that the incidence of myocarditis is estimated at around 10 to 20 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year. The disease usually occurs more often in younger patients, but not specifically in one gender. Virus infections are among the triggers.
Heart muscle inflammation is also known as a rare side effect of vaccinations and occurred, for example, with the smallpox vaccination in the USA in 2003. This was not previously known from mRNA vaccines (Comirnaty, Moderna).
After corona vaccination – watch out for symptoms!
Anyone who feels clearly ill after a vaccination should generally see a doctor and have the symptoms clarified. The following signs may indicate an inflammation of the heart muscle: pressure on the chest, pain or burning in the chest, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat or palpitations.
Professor Westermann says the risk of developing Covid-19 and getting complications or post-Covid is greater than myocarditis from a vaccination. One such complication can be myocarditis. This is also confirmed by this study, in which US athletes were examined after a Covid 19 disease.