CDC vaccine committee discusses likely side effect from some COVID-19 vaccines

June 24, 2021

A group of healthcare associations and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said they “strongly encourage” vaccination against COVID-19 for everyone 12 years old and older, despite what they referred to as an “extremely rare side effect” of the mRNA vaccines.

The associations released a statement after a meeting Wednesday of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which met to discuss reported cases of inflammation of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue called myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination among younger people.

The organizations included the American Medical Association, Association of Public Health Laboratories, and American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Since April 2021, there have been more than a thousand reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) of cases of inflammation of the heart—called myocarditis and pericarditis—happening after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency said most cases were mild and occurred mostly in adolescents and young adults. 

“The facts are clear: this is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination. Importantly, for the young people who do, most cases are mild, and individuals recover often on their own or with minimal treatment. In addition, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe,” the associations said in the statement. 

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