COVID: Health Ministry finds some myocarditis cases linked to vaccines
Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels are seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION/FILE PHOTO)
“There is a likelihood of a connection between receiving a second dose of vaccine and the onset of myocarditis in young men aged 16-30."
A number of myocarditis cases which were reported in the aftermath of the coronavirus vaccine were likely linked to the inoculation, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday evening. The majority of the cases involved young men.
Myocarditis is an inflammation to the heart muscle which can be caused by a viral infection but also appears as a reaction to a medication.
Israel has been inoculating its population with the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine.
After the Health Ministry received reports on some cases diagnosed close in time after a coronavirus vaccination, a committee of experts was appointed to look into the issue. The committee included public health experts specialized in epidemiology, members of the National Center for Disease Control and academics from the Tel Aviv University, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Haifa University.
The committee considered all the myocarditis cases between December, when the vaccination campaign started, and May.
Out of the 275 cases reported in the period, some 148 occurred in the aftermath of a dose of the coronavirus vaccine – 27 cases out of 5,401,150 recipients of the first dose and 121 within 30 days after the second dose (out of 5,049,424). Some 11 patients of the former and 60 of the latter suffered from preexisting conditions).
Many of the cases were reported among men 16-30, and especially ages 16-19. In addition, most of the patients were discharged from the hospital in less than four days, and 95% of the cases were considered mild.
“There is a likelihood of a connection between receiving a second dose of vaccine and the onset of myocarditis in young men aged 16-30,” the group of experts concluded. “The connection is stronger in young people aged 16-19 compared to other ages and it decreases as age increases. In most cases, it is a mild illness that passes within a few days.”
The preliminary findings of the report about a possible link between the vaccine and myocarditis was first leaked by channel 12 at the end of April. Channel 12 mentioned two cases of people succumbing to the disease. However, the report mentioned that there was no certainty as to the link between these cases and the vaccine. The cases were not mentioned in the announcement by the Health Ministry.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post last week, Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, an epidemiologist and the director of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s School of Public Health, said that in evaluating the results of the upcoming report on a possible connection between myocarditis and the coronavirus vaccine, another element would need to be considered: the likelihood of developing the inflammation as a consequence of COVID itself.
“According to the preliminary analysis it appears that the risk is higher for those who are naturally infected, but again we are waiting for the complete data,” he said.