HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WHTM) – Later this week, the CDC will hold an emergency meeting to discuss reports of heart infections in mostly boys and young men after receiving a COVID vaccine. But experts say there is no need to panic.
It’s important to look at the big picture first. More than 309 million vaccines have been administered. As of Thursday, the CDC is reporting 275 cases of this inflammation in 16 to 24 year olds.
“As a scientist and a nurse and someone who focuses on public health, I am still perfectly happy with the vaccines. I would still tell my family to get vaccinated, ”said Dr. Nancy Mimm, Assistant Professor of Nursing and Population Health at Harrisburg University.
Mimm says the benefits of the COVID vaccines far outweigh the risks.
“Think of all the people who were hospitalized,” said Mimm. “Many of them had so many complications related to the COVID virus that like lung damage could have been prevented.”
The most recent concern is about inflammation of the heart, which seems to be more common in boys and young men and often after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
“That’s inflammation in the muscle called myocarditis, and pericarditis is inflammation of the sac around the heart,” Mimm said.
People aged 12 to 24 make up more than half of the reports after a second dose, but make up only about nine percent of the doses given.
“Signs to look out for include chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, rash, and diarrhea,” said Mimm.
It’s a rare but serious side effect to be aware of, but not to worry about. Mimm says the extra control is a good thing.
“This is what happens, and it has happened to other vaccines, that the CDC has an emergency meeting and scientists get together and analyze them and look at them and look for trends. This is exactly what you want. This is best practice at its best, ”said Mimm.
As vaccination rates continue to fall overall, it is important to keep fighting.
“We have a vaccine that saves lives and we have to go ahead and vaccinate for the people around us, the communities we live in and for ourselves,” said Mimm.
The meeting is this Friday. It’s not yet clear whether the vaccine and inflammation are related.