Few cases of heart inflammation in teens and young adults after COVID-19 vaccine being investigated

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- U.S. Centers for Disease Control vaccine safety officials are investigating reports of rare heart inflammation in teens and young adults after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The condition is called myocarditis and doctors say it’s typically mild.

“In the spring and summer months we actually see an uptick of it and that’s just kind of the common time of year for us to see some of these cases,” said Dr. Joseph McBride, adult and pediatric infectious disease expert at UW Health.

Myocarditis is nothing new to doctors, they say it happens year-round. The most common causes of myocarditis are viral infections, like COVID-19.

Doctors say myocarditis symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, chest pain and racing heart.

“Anywhere between eight and 25-percent of people have myocarditis or inflammation of the heart when they have COVID themselves,” said Dr. McBride.

Dr. McBride says so far, 4.9 million teens in the U.S. have gotten the vaccine. The CDC is now seeing if there is a correlation between myocarditis and the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Right now what the investigators are doing is seeing—are the rate of myocarditis this year any different from what they’ve been previously?” adds Dr. McBride.

While the CDC report says rates of myocarditis have not differed than what is expected, the cases seem to affect teens and young adults most. It also happens more in males, likely to transpire after the second dose and occur within four days of getting the shot.

“There’s been no proof that these episodes of myocarditis are linked to the vaccine,” Dr. McBride said.

Dr. McBride says because myocarditis can happen after a COVID diagnosis, the vaccine is safe and still the best means of protection for teens and adults. Increased vaccination efforts in the U.S. have made a sizeable dip in the number of COVID cases.

"We have gone from 6% of US adults with one shot on the day the president took office, to more than 60% in just four months. We're averaging about 24,000 cases per day, down from nearly 184,000 cases per day," said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary.

“The public should really rest assured that investigators from the CDC, and internationally, are really looking closely to see if there are particular concerns families need to follow,” adds Dr. McBride.

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