The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has pushed back an emergency meeting on post-vaccination heart inflammation seen in Americans, primarily young people, because of a new federal holiday.
President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday making June 19 a new holiday, Juneteenth. Shortly afterwards, the CDC said its June 18 meeting “is being rescheduled due to the observation of the Juneteenth National Independence Day holiday.”
A federal office said Thursday that because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, the observation will take place on Friday.
The meeting, which was deemed an emergency when announced last week, will now be folded into a June 23 to June 25 virtual meeting, the CDC said.
The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CDC officials planned to present to the agency’s vaccine advisory panel updated information on myocarditis and pericarditis in people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
A CDC official told members of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee on June 10 that more than 800 reports of post-vaccination heart inflammation have been submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a passive reporting system run jointly by the administration and the CDC.
That included 475 among those 30 or younger, of which 226 have been verified as meeting the CDC’s working case definition.
The CDC’s move drew criticism from some.
“Giant mistake in my view. The CDC director should have the ability to keep the meeting on the calendar,” Dr. Walid Gellad, professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburg’s School of Medicine, said on Twitter. “There are perception issues here that are important to consider. Many people are worried about this potential” adverse event.
Earlier Thursday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, told reporters in a virtual briefing that the CDC’s vaccine advisory panel would be meeting the following day to review data on post-vaccination myocarditis and pericarditis reports.
“These cases are rare, and the vast majority have fully resolved with rest and supportive care. CDC will present details about more than 300 confirmed cases of myocarditis and pericarditis reported to CDC and FDA among the over 20 million adolescents and young adults vaccinated in the United States,” she said.
The panel “will hear a risk-benefit analysis regarding COVID-19 vaccination versus the potential rare side effects across all age groups,” she added later.
Some health experts had believed the advisory panel might recommend young people avoid getting a COVID-19 vaccine built on messenger RNA technology. Both the Pfizer and Moderna jabs use mRNA.
“Looking at the data I think that one may recommend only one dose of an mRNA vaccine for young people, forgo mRNA vaccines or use an Ad vectored vaccine,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, said in a recent tweet.