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Large Study Reveals ‘Very Low’ Risk of Myopericarditis After COVID Jab

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Aug 30, 2022

Large Study Reveals ‘Very Low’ Risk of Myopericarditis After COVID Jab

According to a peer-reviewed study published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine, the risk of heart inflammation known as myopericarditis after COVID vaccination is “very low,” and much lower than the risks associated with a coronavirus infection itself. 

COVID-19 Vaccination and the Risks of Myopericarditis

As COVID vaccination programs spread around the world, it became evident that young men in particular developed myocarditis or pericarditis. Myocarditis refers to a heart inflammation that can impair its capacity to pump blood, thus causing rapid or irregular heartbeats. On the other hand, pericarditis refers to the inflammation and irritation of the thin, sac-like tissue (pericardium) surrounding the heart. 

Despite the limited cases, experts from the United Kingdom still raised concerns about the findings. They insisted that one of the reasons for the delay in expanding vaccination for children is the heart inflammation risk.

According to new research, myopericarditis is an umbrella term for both myocarditis and pericarditis. Aside from being a rare condition after COVID-19 shots, the probability of having it is low and not significantly different from other types of immunizations, like flu vaccinations.

The authors shared that the “overall risk of myopericarditis appears to be no different for this very new group of vaccines against Covid-19 than for traditional vaccines against other pathogens.” 

More About the Study

Singapore researchers explained how they conducted an analysis of 22 previously published studies, covering over 405 million vaccine doses worldwide. Their extensive search aimed to look for the occurrence of myopericarditis after vaccination.

In general, 11 studies examined COVID vaccines, even if many did not include children under the age of 12. Meanwhile, another batch of 11 looked at flu, smallpox, polio, and MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccinations, among other things.

The results indicate that the onset of myopericarditis after COVID vaccination is low, with a mean incidence of around 18 cases per million doses. The said statistical information is something comparable to the incidence following a flu vaccine and other types of vaccine.

Moreover, when non-COVID jabs are in combination with other shots, the average incidence of heart inflammation was just about 56 cases per million doses.

Myopericarditis following COVID mRNA shots was relatively more prevalent in younger men after their second dose. The incidence rate was 10-fold higher for men than for women under age 30. 

Importance of the Study and Vaccine Administrations

According to the authors, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks of rare adverse outcomes like myopericarditis. Some benefits they highlighted include the following:

  • Lower risk of infection
  • Low hospitalization rates
  • Less likelihood of severe diseases
  • Lower number of deaths from COVID-19
  • They do, however, suggest that the results of this analysis may bring support to tweaking policies. For instance, they may offer non-mRNA COVID shots to boys. Although some factors, like vaccine availability, may also influence such decisions.

    “These findings are important additions to the conversation when weighing the risk-benefits of COVID-19 vaccination and parents should be informed about the benefits and harms of COVID-19 vaccination, the local risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection at the time, and the risk of myopericarditis from COVID-19 infection itself at the time of vaccination of their adolescent children,” co-author of the study Dr. Kollengode Ramanathan of the National University of Singapore said. 

    The director of the Vaccine Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Professor Beate Kampmann, also added, “The risk of heart involvement and serious harm from COVID-19 itself is significantly higher than this rare side-effect, which primarily – and rarely – affects young males.”

    Finally, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, the medical director at the British Heart Foundation, also asserted, “Millions of people around the world have had a COVID vaccine, virtually all without complication,” he said. “Getting COVID-19 can lead to severe illness including heart issues and people who are vaccinated have a much lower risk of getting other serious complications caused by COVID-19.”

    Learn more about Coronavirus here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Aug 30, 2022

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