Young people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna coronavirus vaccines are reporting higher-than-usual rates of heart inflammation and swelling, US health officials said on Thursday.
The findings are preliminary and come from a self-reported database of potential side effects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has yet to confirm a link to the vaccines, although researchers are now investigating these incidents of heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, and heart swelling, known as pericarditis.
The CDC plans to convene an advisory group to discuss the issue on June 18. Earlier this month, Israel’s health ministry said there was a “probable link” between Pfizer’s vaccine and heart muscle inflammation in young men.
In Thursday interviews with Insider, cardiologists and infectious-disease specialists said the potential risk of the vaccine is still tiny compared to the potential damage from getting infected with the coronavirus. Not all experts are convinced there’s a link between the events and the shots.
“It’s not a no-brainer that there’s an association, because the season for getting myocarditis is around now,” Dr. Lorry Rubin, director of pediatric infectious diseases at Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center told Insider.
A group of viruses called enteroviruses is the most common cause of myocarditis, Rubin said. Those viruses typically circulate in the summer months.
“That’s not the sole cause, but that’s the most common infectious trigger for myocarditis and that’s more of a seasonal infection,” he said.
All three experts also agreed that getting vaccinated, even for young and healthy men and boys, is still the best option.