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COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Tied to Higher Risk for Myocarditis, Pericarditis

Authors say benefits of vaccination still outweigh risks, but some individuals should be aware of their higher risk

MONDAY, Nov. 7, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A higher incidence of myocarditis or pericarditis occurs after COVID-19 vaccination, according to a review published online Sept. 25 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Juan Gao, from Anhui Medical University in Hefei, China, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies evaluating the risk for myocarditis/pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination.

Based on 11 included studies (58.6 million individuals), the researchers found that COVID-19 vaccination was associated with an increased risk for myocarditis or pericarditis (relative risk, 2.04). There was an increased risk seen with the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine versus risk seen among those receiving the first dose only (relative risk, 4.06). A higher incidence of pericarditis or myocarditis was seen primarily in those who received the BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 vaccines (relative risks, 2.19 and 4.15, respectively). The elevated risk was seen in males and adults younger than 40 years.

“Study results indicate that a higher incidence of myocarditis or pericarditis was found after COVID-19 vaccination. Nevertheless, the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis in COVID-19 vaccine recipients are still significantly lower than the health risks observed in patients with COVID-19,” the authors write. “The benefits and harms must be carefully assessed to determine the best management option for patients who are in the high-risk group of myocarditis or pericarditis.”

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