Risk higher by a factor of 5 to 25 – Young men are more likely to suffer from heart muscle inflammation after vaccination

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Young men in Israel are more likely to develop myocarditis after receiving the second corona vaccination from Pfizer / Biontech than those who have not had a vaccination.

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After the second vaccination from Biontech / Pfizer, myocarditis was detected more often in young men in Israel.

20min/Marco Zangger

In young men, the risk of developing myocarditis after a Covid vaccination is 5 to 25 times higher than without a vaccination.

In young men, the risk of developing myocarditis after a Covid vaccination is 5 to 25 times higher than without a vaccination.

20min/Simon Glauser

Heart muscle inflammation can also occur with a severe corona disease.

Heart muscle inflammation can also occur with a severe corona disease.

20min/Simon Glauser

  • There have been numerous cases in Israel of young men developing myocarditis after receiving the second Pfizer / Biontech vaccination.

  • An analysis confirmed that heart muscle inflammation occurred more frequently after the Covid vaccination than if one did not get a vaccination.

  • The risk for young men is increased by a factor of 5 to 25.

At the end of April, cases in Israel became known for the first time in which young men developed myocarditis – a so-called myocarditis – after the second vaccination with the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer / Biontech. It was unclear whether the myocarditis was vaccine-related. Heart muscle inflammation can also be triggered by infectious diseases.

An analysis by the Israel Ministry of Health found that myocarditis was more common after vaccinations than the average population. The risk for young men is increased by a factor of 5 to 25, according to scientists from various universities and the Israeli Center for Disease Control in their report. This is reported by the “Tages-Anzeiger”.

The greatest risk is for the 16 to 19 age group. Most heart muscle diseases are healed, the report says. The disease could also have long-term consequences for the heart and also cause cardiac arrhythmias.

So far, only two specific cases of myocarditis have been found in Switzerland after vaccination.

USA is also investigating cases of side effects

The US authorities are investigating several cases of myocarditis in young people in connection with a corona vaccination. There were 14 cases in adolescents and young adults who were vaccinated with mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Biontech or Moderna, said the US health authority CDC. “Most of the cases seem to be mild, a follow-up of the cases is ongoing,” as the AFP news agency reported.

Such cases have not yet increased in Germany. 107 cases of myocarditis were reported in Europe (one case in 175,000 vaccinations) It should be noted, however, that in Europe mainly older people were vaccinated. In Switzerland, too, only just under one percent of the ten to 19 year old age group were fully vaccinated.

On Friday, the Swiss regulatory and supervisory authority for drugs and medical devices granted Swissmedic approval for vaccinations for children aged twelve and over. The Federal Commission for Vaccination Issues (Ekif) still has to make a recommendation before the young people are vaccinated.

Vaccination recommendation for 12 to 15 year olds not before the end of June

So what do the side effects of myocarditis mean for adolescents? Christoph Aebi, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Inselspital Bern, says: “It is still too early for a final assessment.”

“We are currently working on this recommendation,” says Christoph Berger, pediatric infectiologist at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich and President of Ekif. “It is good news that the vaccine is now also approved for twelve to 15-year-olds, but we will study the data on myocarditis cases carefully for our recommendation.” The recommendation will hardly be made before the end of June.

Why the Pfizer / Biontech vaccination causes heart problems in young men is unclear. When asked by the Tages-Anzeiger, Biontech said that there was still an extremely positive risk-benefit profile. The side effects are being investigated and there is already evidence as to why the vaccine causes myocarditis.

Does the excessive immune response trigger myocarditis?

“The mRNA vaccines ensure a very strong immune response, especially in young people,” says Aebi, a child infectious agent. It could therefore be that an excessive immune response triggers myocarditis, as adolescents between the ages of twelve and 19 and primary school children generally have a very strong immune response. “Perhaps there is also a genetic component that we don’t know yet,” says Berger from Ekif.

The vaccination decision for this age group is therefore more difficult. Young people are currently not getting vaccinated for medical reasons, but because they want to travel again or take part in major events.

“We know that from travel medicine,” says Aebi. “What is new, however, is that you are now even doing this because you are traveling within Europe or because of an open air event; you should actually make a vaccination decision for medical reasons.”

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