June 14, 2021 -- The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet this week to discuss reports about heart inflammation in adolescents who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC has received 226 reports of myocarditis in people who are under age 30 and have received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Although myocarditis is temporary and can resolve with treatment and monitoring, the CDC group will analyze the cases to determine whether there is a link to the vaccines, the news outlet reported.

“The observed reports are exceeding the expected — based on the background, the known background rates are published,” Tom Shimabukuro, MD, deputy director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, told the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee on Thursday.

“It’s a bit of an apples to oranges comparison, because again, these are preliminary reports,” he said. “Not all of these will turn out to be true myocarditis or pericarditis reports.”

Nearly 800 unconfirmed cases of heart problems have been reported to the vaccine safety monitoring system, but the CDC is most focused on the cases in people under age 30, according to NBC News. The CDC saw higher-than-usual numbers in the 16-24 age group, particularly among young men after their second dose of the vaccine. Typically, fewer than 100 cases would be expected for the age group.

Teenagers and people in their early 20s accounted for more than half of the myocarditis cases reported to the CDC’s monitoring system, NBC News reported. About 80% of cases have fully recovered and were sent home after a hospital visit, and 15 patients are still hospitalized, including three in intensive care. The CDC will receive an update on the reports during this week’s meeting.

The reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in ages 12-24 make up about 54% of the total reports after a second dose, though the age groups make up about 9% of the doses administered, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The CDC committee will focus on what additional data they need to determine if myocarditis is related to vaccines. The group isn’t slated to vote on any vaccine recommendation changes or the timeline for COVID-19 vaccine approval for kids.

Keeping the side effects in mind, the CDC still recommends that everyone ages 12 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who feels chest pain, shortness of breath or a rapid heartbeat within a week of receiving a vaccine should seek medical attention.

In addition, Pfizer and Moderna are continuing to conduct studies for COVID-19 vaccines in children under age 12. Scientists expect to have data available by the fall, and Pfizer plans to request FDA approval for ages 2-11 in September, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

ABC News: “CDC panel to discuss myocarditis reports in young people after COVID-19 vaccines.”

NBC News: “Evidence grows stronger for Covid vaccine link to heart issue, CDC says.”

American Academy of Pediatrics: “CDC confirms 226 cases of myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination in people 30 and under.”

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