Health officials address heart inflammation concerns

Coronavirus Vaccine

The CDC is sending researchers to Washington, at the request of state health officials, to help sort through reports of heart inflammation showing up in teenagers and young adults after they get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Washington’s acting State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Lindquist, says he asked doctors to send in any possible cases of myocarditis or pericarditis to see if they could be connected to the vaccine, and got an overwhelming response. He says so far there’s no sign that we’re seeing more cases of heart inflammation than usual.

“We see myocarditis and pericarditis every year,” Dr. Lindquist explained. “These are things that are usually caused by viral infections that we see at this time every year,” although he says it’s not incredibly common. He says, with so many people getting vaccinated all at once, it’s entirely possible that cases of heart inflammation showing up after a vaccine are simply a coincidence.

RELATED: Inslee signs ‘Safe Workers’ proclamation, details employee vaccination rules

Dr. Elizabeth Meade, President of the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says the CDC investigation shows how careful officials are being.

“The many layers of systems that we have in place to monitor vaccine safety and any potential side effects are really doing their job,” Dr. Meade says. “They’re designed to…alert us if there’s even a potential for any possible adverse effect or side effects from vaccines.”

Dr. Meade pointed out that COVID-19 can also cause heart inflammation; along with other, more serious long-term effects – even for children.  She says, while myocarditis can be easily treated with anti-inflammatory medication, COVID-19 is much more difficult to cure.

“COVID-19 illness and its associated complications are a very real and very present threat to children and adolescents,” Dr. Meade said. “We know that absolutely the best way we have to protect them at this point is through vaccination.”


RELATED: Federal vaccine doses not included in Washington state count