SAN DIEGO — The CDC is planning an emergency meeting next week to discuss higher-than-expected reports of young people with heart inflammation after getting a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines.
The CDC has received nearly 300 reports among people 16 to 24 years old, mostly males. The conditions are known as myocarditis and pericarditis.
“It’s like a bruising of the muscle and the bruising of the covering around the heart,” said Dr. William Tseng, the vaccine lead for Kaiser Permanente in the San Diego region.
Doctors say cases are extremely rare and symptoms are mild, including shortness of breath and chest pains.
“Because it’s very mild, if you just take ibuprofen — that’s most of the prescriptions — you get well and you get over it,” Tseng said.
More than 12 million people in the age group now are fully vaccinated.
According to the CDC, the vast majority of those who came down with the condition easily recovered, but dozens have had ongoing symptoms with some needing hospitalization.
But the conditions have not been directly linked to the vaccines.
“When a side effect happens to the heart – that raises extra concern,” said Dr. Eric Adler, a cardiologist at UC San Diego Health. “It’s not a headache. It’s going to freak you out. It’s very scary when someone says your heart has inflammation. I can see why parents are going to be a little more anxious.”
Doctors say, despite the report, vaccine benefits far outweigh the risks.
However, Adler believes there now may be a pause on approving the vaccine for younger children.
“I think they’ll still push the process, but I think they’ll be a little more eyes-wide-open — going to be a healthy discussion,” he said.