As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigate rare cases of heart problems in teens and young adults who have received COVID-19 vaccines, a former acting chief of the agency says there is no clear link to vaccines yet and encourages parents to continue getting children vaccinated.
Dr Richard Besser, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, made several media appearances Monday morning, telling ABC and NBC co-hosts that the CDC was investigating reports of myocarditis – or unusual inflammation of the heart muscle – but so far the agency has not found any reported cases exceeding expected benchmarks.
Besser explained that a CDC vaccine safety advisory committee analyzes the data weekly for possible red flags, and although the reports of myocarditis appear to correspond to normal rates, the committee analyzes the reports for s ‘ensure that the vaccine is not a root cause.
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A spokesperson for the CDC told Fox News that rare cases of heart problems have been reported in recent weeks in the United States and abroad.
“In recent weeks, there have been rare reports of myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination in the United States and Europe,” CDC spokesperson Ben Haynes said in an emailed statement. at Fox News. “Myocarditis and pericarditis are side effects that can be seen following viral infection and other types of vaccination. Reported cases appear to be mild and often go away without requiring treatment. “
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“These reports are rare given the number of vaccine doses administered, and the CDC and FDA will continue to monitor and assess reports of myocarditis / pericarditis occurring after COVID-19 vaccination. Healthcare providers must report all cases to VAERS. CDC continues to strongly recommend Vaccination COVID-19 for people 12 years of age or older given the risk of COVID-19 disease and associated, potentially serious complications. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19, ”the statement read.
The CDC declined to disclose the number of cases reported at this point.
“As a pediatrician, what I would say is that at this point there is nothing to worry about. It tells me the system is working, ”Besser told“ Good Morning America ”co-hosts. “We know that the COVID infection itself can be very serious… From my perspective, the risk of COVID is so much greater than any theoretical risk from the vaccine. I would say ‘go ahead so that we can get our lives back to what we want them to be. ”
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According to federal data, there have been at least 3,742 cases of a rare but serious inflammatory disease linked to the coronavirus, with 35 related deaths, as of the last update on May 3. Half of the cases have occurred in children between the ages of five and 13, according to the CDC.
A breakdown of immunizations by age shows that nearly 2 million children aged 12 to 15 started immunization in the past 2 weeks, and more than 600,000 adolescents aged 16 to 17 completed all doses in the past. during the same period. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 3.9 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and new weekly infections are declining to levels not seen since late October.
Children represent 1.3% to 3.1% of all reported hospitalizations and less than 2% of all pediatric COVID-19 cases ended in hospitalization, according to data from 24 states and New York. Children accounted for less than 0.21% of all COVID-related deaths, according to the AAP.