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Washington: American experts gathered in the United States on Wednesday to examine about 300 cases of heart inflammation that developed after young people received some of the Covid vaccines.
These cases were recorded after receiving one of the two vaccines Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna, which they have in common, were developed using messenger RNA technology.
The independent experts met at the request of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s main federal public health authority, to review cases of myocarditis and pericarditis recorded in young people.
This while Rochelle Walinsky, director of the American Health Authority, confirmed last week that “these cases are rare, and the vast majority of them were treated thanks to the patients’ rest and receiving health care.”
Information from a system that allows anyone to report health problems after receiving a dose of vaccine was analyzed by the CDC and submitted to its Immunization Advisory Committee.
As of June 11, 323 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis have been confirmed in people aged 29 or younger.
These cases often occur after the second dose of the vaccine, and symptoms usually begin a few days after the injection.
Among them, 309 were transferred to hospitals, and nine are still undergoing treatment. 80% of them had recovered when the injuries were reported. And the majority of those concerned are males (males are often more susceptible to these diseases).
“Reassuringly, the data show that patients generally recover from symptoms and are well,” CDC official Tom Shimabukuro said in a presentation. No deaths have been confirmed yet.
148 cases are still under study.
higher than expected
As of June 11, more than 50 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered to people aged 12 to 29 in the United States, according to data presented at the meeting.
If these cases seem very rare compared to the number of people who have been vaccinated, the number was higher than expected for this age group.
Available data indicate a “possible” link between cases of myocarditis and these vaccines in adolescents and young adults, according to a presentation by a member of the panel.
“Myocarditis is a rare disease, but it is not a new disease,” said Matthew Oster, a pediatric cardiologist at an Atlanta hospital. “We think it is usually caused by a virus (…) and it seems that messenger RNA vaccines may be a new trigger,” he added.
“I am concerned, but I would like to note that a causal link has not yet been established” between the vaccine and the recorded symptoms, Laurie Rubin, director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York, told AFP.
“In our hospital, we saw cases of young children suffering from chest pain one or two days after receiving their second dose of the messenger RNA technology,” he added.
But these cases were “relatively mild” and most were treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, according to the doctor, who said that even if a link has been established between vaccination and myocarditis, the benefits of these vaccines remain greater than the risks.
Although children and young adults are less likely to develop severe COVID-19 symptoms, more than 2,600 people under the age of 29 have died from the disease in the United States, according to health authorities.
Lee Savio Beers, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told AFP that some children had been “severely ill” from Covid and were suffering “long-term effects” from it. She added, “The patient can also develop serious heart problems as a result of infection with Covid.”
She added that she still “clearly advises that the vaccine be given to young people”, and does not expect to make a change in recommendations for the use of vaccines.
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in the United States starting 12 years ago, and Moderna vaccine from 18 years old today.
Such cases were reported for the first time in Israel, where vaccination was faster than in other countries. At the end of May, the Israeli Ministry of Health indicated a “possible link” between the Pfizer vaccine and cases of myocarditis in young men, but said that 95% of them were benign.
A small number of such cases were also recorded in France.