The CDC has announced that males under the age of 30, particularly in their teens and young 20s, may be at a higher risk of experiencing heart inflammation after receiving the second dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccination.
The correlation between the vaccine and either myocarditis or pericarditis, two types of heart inflammation, has become stronger since 226 cases were reported among young, vaccinated men. Correlation does not show that the vaccine caused the heart problems, but that the possibility is there.
The CDC is investigating the cases, which are about twice the threshold for such an investigation, according to The Hill. The symptoms of both heart inflammation issues are fever, fatigue, shortness of breath and a particular type of chest pain.
Both conditions are treatable or can resolve on their own. About 80% of cases cleared up on their own without treatment, which can include ibuprophen or an IV medication administered in the hospital.
Currently, about 15 patients remain hospitalized with heart inflammation, and three of those are in the ICU. Two of the three had other health problems before getting the vaccine, NBC News reported.
While any kind of side effect is cause for concern in a vaccine so new, the number of cases so far represents only a tiny fraction of those who received the vaccine. The vast majority of the young men who got it have not had these symptoms.
The CDC still recommends that everyone 12 and over get the COVID vaccine, calling it “safe and effective” in ads. Only the Pfizer vaccine, which is an mRNA vaccine and requires two doses 21 days apart, has been approved for ages 12 to 15.
The Johnson&Johnson vaccine is also available in the US as a one-shot vaccine, but is not an mRNA vaccine and does not appear to have any heart-related side effects, even in rare cases.
Vaccination rates flagging
As of Sunday, 311 million doses of all COVID-19 vaccines have been given in the U.S. 145 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, which is 44.2% of the population.
In April, Americans were getting more than three million shots per day, but that number has now fallen to 1.12 million per day.
The Biden administration has set a goal of having 70% of eligible Americans get at least one dose of a vaccination by July 4th, but it is unclear whether this goal will be reached as fewer people seek vaccinations.
News of side effects like heart inflammation may lead to lower vaccination rates, especially for young men who are most at risk. About one in five Americans has said they won’t get the vaccine due to health conditions or because of hesitancy to get a vaccine that is unproven over a long period of time.