National Library of Medicine
By TA Klamer, M Linschoten, FW Asselbergs
Vaccines against coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) have shown to be greatly effective in preventing viral spread, serious illness and death from this infectious disease and are therefore critical for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the listing of myocarditis and pericarditis as possible rare side effects of the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines against COVID-19 by regulatory agencies has sparked discussion on the vaccines’ safety.
The most important published cohort studies to date demonstrat that myocarditis is a very rare side effect after COVID-19 mRNA vaccination, with an incidence of approximately 1-4 cases per 100,000 vaccinated persons. Young males (16-29 years) appear to be at highest risk, predominantly after receiving the second dose.
The disease course is self-limiting in a vast majority of cases: 95% of patients show a rapid resolution of symptoms and normalisation of cardiac biomarkers, electro- and echocardiographic findings within days. Importantly, the available data suggest that the incidence rate of myocarditis in the context of COVID-19 is much greater than the risk of this side effect following vaccination.
We conclude that the benefit of vaccination against COVID-19 outweighs the potential risk of myocarditis and pericarditis in both adolescents and adults. Prospective follow-up of patients who have developed these complications after vaccination is required to assess long-term outcomes.
Keywords: COVID-19; COVID-19 vaccination; Coronavirus disease 2019; Myocarditis; Pericarditis; Side effect.
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