For a long time, there have been disputes regardingthe safety of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 for children. The main reason for this rare side effect is myocarditis. In the United States, more than a million children aged 5 to 11 have already been vaccinated. However, the mixed messages left parents confused and uncertain. But what is the real situation? A review of over two dozen peer-reviewed medical journal articles, government documents, and interviews with pediatric cardiologists and pediatricians provide an encouraging picture of the safety of childhood COVID-19 vaccinations. Post-vaccination myocarditis is less common and usually milder than heart complications from COVID-19, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). According to experts, this disease can occur two to six weeks after an acute infection with SARS-CoV-2. The disease occurs in one child in 3200 infected children. Moreover, it can occur even if the infection was mild or generally asymptomatic.
- 1 Myocarditis - a side effect of coronavirus
- 2 What myocarditis occurs in children as a result of coronavirus
- 3 Long-term effects of COVID-19 on the heart of children
- 4 Comparison of risks from vaccine and COVID-19
Myocarditis - a side effect of coronavirus
As the cardiologist of the Children's Hospital saysPhiladelphia, Matthew Elias, MIS-C is a serious condition that can cause inflammation in many organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and digestive organs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 5,500 US children have received MIS-C since the pandemic began, although experts believe this is an underestimate.
“The experience of the pediatric hospital shows thatThe risk of heart disease in patients from COVID-19 at any age is consistently worse than the risk of vaccinated myocarditis, ”said Frank Hahn, pediatric cardiologist at OSF Healthcare in central Illinois.
According to Frank Hahn, most casesvaccine-associated myocarditis lungs, without significant impairment of heart function or inability to maintain blood pressure, unlike the diseases that COVID-19 provokes.
What myocarditis occurs in children as a result of coronavirus
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart that results inwhich can be accompanied by a wide range of symptoms and vary in severity - from very mild pain to heart failure. According to children's cardiologist Matthew Elias, there are three types of myocarditis associated with COVID-19 - a disease from the SARS-CoV-2 infection itself caused by MIS-C, as well as from a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells about the third option in detail.
During COVID-19 infection, classic myocarditis sometimes occurs, which occurs with some other infections not associated with coronavirus. But this type is more common in adults than children.
In children, myocarditis occurs much more often fromMIS-C, or MIS-C-related cardiac symptoms that resemble myocarditis. Most pediatric cardiologists agree that the cardiac complications seen with MIS-C are more serious than the myocarditis seen with the vaccine.
Long-term effects of COVID-19 on the heart of children
According to experts, almost all children whosuffered from heart problems related to MIS-C, recovered. However, the long-term effects are still unclear. Some children with MIS-C develop coronary artery aneurysms, in which the coronary artery dilates much more than normal. Jacqueline Shmushkovich, a pediatric cardiologist specializing in MIS-C at the Heart Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, speaks of this.
Although these aneurysms are rare, they can sometimes befatal. Therefore, they require long-term follow-up, possibly until adulthood, as they can affect the future risk of coronary heart disease. According to Frank Hahn, all cases of these aneurysms were observed with the onset of MIS-C, but not after the vaccine.
According to information published in the journalPediatrics, for myocarditis after vaccine, have been found to have relatively mild consequences, which has been confirmed by subsequent studies. The most common symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath, sometimes accompanied by fever. Hospital stays usually last for several days, mainly for observation.
Comparison of risks from vaccine and COVID-19
According to researchers, the risk ofmyocarditis in children under the age of 16 after COVID-19 increases 36 times. As Matthew Elias notes, about 50 percent of the children he has treated for MIS-C have a decrease in heart function that resembles myocarditis. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics says 75 percent of 255 patients with MIS-C suffer from myocarditis. By the way, in addition to myocarditis, COVID-19 often causes Kawasaki syndrome in children, which is often fatal.
The incidence of myocarditis after vaccination, itvaries by age and gender, with adolescent boys at higher risk of developing the disease than other groups. Another study, published in AHA Journals, found that the risk of myocarditis between the ages of 12 and 17 is one in 16,000 boys vaccinated and one in 115,000 girls.
So far there have been no reports of myocarditisafter vaccination in children under 12 years of age. The largest study of myocarditis after vaccination, conducted by a group of Israeli universities and government scientists, published in The New England Journal Of Medicine, found that the group at highest risk is boys aged 16 to 19 years.
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Nevertheless, there are still many questions aboutmyocarditis caused by the vaccine and MIS-C. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to research. Finally, let me remind you that according to some recent studies, vaccinated people spread coronavirus in the same way as unvaccinated people, which I talked about earlier.