US Health Officials Are Investigating Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine For Higher Heart Inflammation Risk

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Aug 20, 2021 03:27 PM +05:30 IST
US Health Officials Are Investigating Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine For Higher Heart Inflammation RiskSophy Ridge (Twitter)
Snapshot
  • As per a report, data from the Canadian government reveals that those who receive Moderna have two and a half times higher risk of myocarditis than those who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

    The US authorities are also looking into data to see if there is any evidence of an increased risk of Moderna in the American population.

The federal health regulators in the United States are looking into new allegations that the Moderna's mRNA Covid-19 vaccine may be linked to a higher risk of a cardiac issue called "myocarditis" in younger adults than previously thought.

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle or myocardium. In usual cases, people don't showcase symptoms that often—in fact, most people recover and never even know they had it. But some symptoms are considered as the signs of this heart issue, such as—shortness of breath, abnormal heartbeat, light-headedness, sharp chest pain which could spread to the neck and shoulders and fatigue.

The investigation on the vaccine and its link to this heart condition includes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is focusing on Canadian data that suggests the Moderna's Covid jab poses a greater danger to young people compared to another mRNA vaccine developed by American company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, particularly for males under the age of 30.

As reported by The Washington Post, respective authorities are also looking into data from the United States to see if there is any evidence of an increased risk of Moderna in the American population.

According to a person familiar with the probe stated that the authorities need to perform further research before deciding whether to publish any new or revised warnings or recommendations about the situation.

One of the sources told The Washington Post that "we have not come to a conclusion on this. The data are not slam-bang".

Meanwhile, Stephanie Caccomo, the FDA spokeswoman, said that although the agency will not comment on internal discussions, it can be stated that the federal agency is committed to reviewing data as it becomes available to the officials. Additionally, she said: "We have previously communicated about myocarditis and Covid-19 vaccines and if new information changes the risk/benefit profile, we will update the public accordingly."

Similarly, in a statement, CDC said that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has been reviewing reports of myocarditis and pericarditis after receiving Covid-19 mRNA immunisation and will continue to do so. It noted that "CDC, FDA, and our vaccine safety partners are actively monitoring these reports, including reviewing data and medical records, to learn more and understand any relationship to Covid-19 mRNA vaccination".

According to one source, data from the Canadian government reveals that those who receive Moderna have two and a half times higher risk of myocarditis than those who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine—both vaccines were found to be 90 per cent effective against SARS-CoV-2.

As per the report, myocarditis is a very unusual side effect, and even though it is more common in individuals who receive the Moderna vaccination, it is still incredibly rare. Officials want to avoid alarming the public, especially as they strive to encourage more people to get vaccinated in the face of an outbreak fuelled by the more contagious and fast-moving Delta variant.

In May, CDC advisory group recommended further study to identify the possible link between myocarditis and mRNA vaccines. At that time, the officials had not found more cases than would be expected in the population, but the advisory panel stated that members of the committee on vaccinations felt that healthcare professionals should be informed of reports of a possible adverse event.

The FDA raised an alert about Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots in June, warning of an elevated risk of myocarditis—an inflammation of the middle layer of the heart wall. In late June, federal health officials stated that there is a "likely association" between the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and an increased risk of a heart condition in adolescents and young adults.

However, in late June at a meeting, CDC's vaccine advisers stated that contracting Covid-19, the virus's illness, puts a person at far greater risk of heart inflammation and other serious medical problems than the risk of developing myocarditis from vaccination.

After the June meeting, the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services issued a joint statement with 15 of the country's leading medical and public health organisations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, saying that they strongly encourage those aged 12 or above to get the jabs as the advantages far exceed the potential risks.

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