Vaccines and myocarditis

The risk of myocarditis with the Covid vaccines has gripped the nation’s attention. I think it is time to take a closer look. Myocarditis is, simply put, inflammation of the muscles of the heart. This condition is not introduced by vaccines. Humans had it for as long as there was a heart beating inside our bodies. Before the pandemic set in, 0.02% people were found with this condition in the world. That’s 22 per 100,000 people. Let us have a closer look at myocarditis:

Who gets myocarditis?

It turns out that anyone can get it, but it is somewhat more common in young and middle aged men.

What causes myocarditis?

A lot of things actually. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, drugs, vaccines, sometimes our own bodies immune system ( i.e. body’s own defense mechanism turns against the heart muscles also called autoimmune disease).

What are the symptoms of myocarditis?

Fatigue, muscle ache, fever or chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate.

What are the serious complications?

Heart failure (in 30% of those affected sometimes a temporary condition, sometimes more chronic), unstable heart rhythm problems, sudden death (<5%). How common is death from myocarditis? Extremely rare, 0.16 patients per 100,000 patient -years.

What can you do to avoid major problem?

Seek medical attention if you are having symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath or rapid heartbeat. Stay away from competitive sports for at least 3 months. The million dollar question is: Does Covid vaccine increase your chances of getting this disease?

To answer the question, let us look into the reported incidence of myocarditis after m RNA Covid vaccine. For men aged 12-29, 4.6 cases per 100,000. For men aged 30 or up, 0.24 cases per 100,000. For women aged 12-29, 0.42 cases per 100,000, For women aged 30 or up, 0.1 cases per 100,000.

No deaths were reported and most were self limiting illnesses. It does seem that the incidence is somewhat higher in younger male. One can argue that their risk of Covid complications is lower than average and therefore the benefits of the vaccine do not outweigh the risk. How true is that? Let us examine risk of Covid related complications in that group: For male 12-29, 100,000 doses of COVID vaccine will prevent 56 hospitalization, 13.8 ICU admissions, 0.6 deaths. Covid infection can also cause myocarditis, with reported incidents between 0-7.6%, according to different studies, with average of 2.3%. What do you think? Are you going to take your chances with the vaccine or the virus? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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