Risk of heart inflammation is higher from Moderna vaccine than from COVID-19 among people under 40
12/16/2021 // Cassie B. // Views

When people express concerns about the risk of heart inflammation from COVID-19 vaccines, the prevailing media narrative tends to be that it is also possible to develop heart problems from a COVID infection. Although this may be true, a new study shows that the risk of developing heart inflammation from Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in particular in those who are younger than 40 is actually higher than their chances of developing it because of the virus.

In the study, researchers found that there were 15 excess cases of the heart inflammation myocarditis per 1 million people who were given a second dose of Moderna's vaccine. The number of excess cases of myocarditis following a positive COVID test, in contrast, was 10. Of course, it is also important to consider that not everyone who decides not to get the vaccine will get infected with COVID.

The study also found that the risk of developing myocarditis was significantly higher following a person's second dose of the vaccine, although it is worth noting that there were also 8 excess cases per 1 million people after the first dose.

University of Oxford infectious disease expert Euzebiusz Jamrozik tweeted: “Time to abandon the belief that COVID-19 myocarditis risk is always higher than mRNA vaccine myocarditis risk. For some individuals, myocarditis risks of the vaccine(s) are higher than those of the disease.”

The same may not hold true when it comes to other vaccines in different age groups, however.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature, was carried out by professors from several universities using data from the English National Immunization Database, which contains the information of everyone who has received the vaccine in England. The database covers more than 38 million people.


Vaccines could be more dangerous for teens

One potential limitation of the study is the fact that it did not break down the data into more specific age groups. Previous studies have indicated that teens have a much greater risk of developing myocarditis from vaccines than the elderly.

Myocarditis is just one of the types of heart inflammation that has been identified as a serious side effect following the mRNA COVID vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer; pericarditis is also being reported. Normally caused by a viral or bacterial infection, myocarditis can hurt the heart's ability to pump as well as its rhythm and may lead to lasting scarring of the heart muscle.

A study that analyzed reports that have been submitted to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System concluded that teenage boys were more likely to experience heart inflammation from the two mRNA vaccines then they were from a COVID hospitalization. The findings were so concerning that countries such as Finland stopped using the Moderna vaccine in young people.

Meanwhile, a Canadian pre-print study that was published last week showed that the incidence of heart inflammation in males aged 18 to 24 who got a second dose of the Moderna vaccine was 5.1 times higher than those in the same group age group who received the second dose of the Pfizer jab. The risk appeared to be lower among those who had a longer interval between their first and second doses, and some countries have lengthened the time between the first and second doses in response to similar studies.

In a November recall, Moderna claimed that although its vaccine might pose more of a myocarditis risk, it offers better protection because it is administered in a higher amount than the Pfizer vaccine. Nevertheless, in late October, the FDA pushed back a decision on whether they should authorize the Moderna vaccine in those aged 17 and younger while they study the risk of heart inflammation.

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