Benefits of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Outweigh Risk of Heart Inflammation: WHO Vaccine Safety Committee
Benefits from the messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the risk of heart inflammation, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) vaccine safety committee has said in its updated guidance.
After reviewing all currently available information and despite evidence suggesting a likely association between heart inflammation and the emergency use mRNA vaccine, the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) announced on July 9 that the benefits of the vaccines continue to outweigh the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis to the individual.
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, while pericarditis is inflammation of the lining that surrounds the heart. The inflammatory condition can occur following an mRNA vaccine or as a result of infection with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes the disease COVID-19.
The guidance echoes with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s guidelines on heart inflammation after being vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine for those aged above 12. The WHO has not differentiated its guidance by age.
Last month, the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee said it would not change its vaccine recommendation for “persons 12 years of age and older in the United States under FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization,” after meeting to discuss the high incidence of heart inflammation in young people, particularly among males aged 12 to 24 years.
The committee concluded that the risk of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults after inoculation with an mRNA vaccine did not outweigh the vaccine’s benefits, and only made recommendations to disclose risks of heart inflammation to patients.
GACVS also claimed that the cases of heart inflammation following mRNA vaccines were very rare, generally mild, and usually improved with treatment like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or rest.
However, the higher-than-expected reports of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults, particularly in young men, typically within a few days after the second dose of the mRNA vaccine, have prompted health authorities in various countries to further investigate the issue.
The safety committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) met last week to discuss the 321 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis reported following mRNA vaccination. About 197 million doses of mRNA vaccines had been administered as of May 31, 2021, in the European Economic Area.
It concluded that heart inflammation “can occur in very rare cases” and recommended “listing myocarditis and pericarditis as new side effects in the product information for these vaccines, together with a warning to raise awareness among healthcare professionals and people taking these vaccines.”
“The Committee concluded that the cases primarily occurred within 14 days after vaccination, more often after the second dose and in younger adult men,” the EMA stated.
In addition, among the 321 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis, five people who “were either of advanced age or had concomitant diseases” died.
The European drug regulator said, “healthcare professionals should be alert to the signs and symptoms of myocarditis and pericarditis,” and people should seek immediate medical attention if they experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and “a forceful heartbeat that may be irregular” after receiving an mRNA vaccine.
Experts Say Healthy Children Should Not Be Vaccinated Yet
Some scientific experts have spoken out on the rush to vaccinate children with COVID-19 vaccines, saying that there needs to be more safety data.
Professor of Adolescent Health at the University College London’s Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, Russel Viner, said in an opinion article published in The Guardian, that public health officials should wait until there are adequate safety data in children before injecting them with COVID-19 vaccines. That is because the risks of children and teenagers “becoming severely ill are very low and of dying from COVID extremely remote.”
Viner is also the senior author of two recent pre-print studies that examined the risks of severe illness and death in children under 18 years. One of the studies that looked at deaths in the first year of the pandemic between March 2020 to February 2021 found only 25 children had died of COVID-19 in a population of over 12 million children, giving a mortality rate of two in a million.
“The majority of deaths in under-18s have been in children with severe medical conditions or disabilities, who are vulnerable every winter regardless of COVID,” Viner said.
Viner says, for now, only teenagers with chronic “medical conditions that make them more vulnerable” should be offered the mRNA vaccines.
The inventor of mRNA vaccine technology, Dr. Robert Malone, said that the risk-benefit ratio for children to get vaccinated doesn’t “look so good.”
“Typically, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP] of the CDC would be evaluating risk-benefit ratio for a new vaccine in a vigorous way, using quality-adjust life years,” Malone told EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program.
“And then the ACIP would come out with a recommendation saying this vaccine is good to be used in the elderly. It’s pretty compelling in this case with these vaccines that even though there are adverse events, their risk of COVID death or significant disease is pretty high. So that’s an easy one to say yes to,” he added.
“Adolescents, in contrast, have a very, very low probability of disease or death from COVID … that calculation doesn’t come out looking so good.”
Malone advises that people take the time to do their research before deciding to receive the vaccine.
“It’s up to you. It’s your body. It’s your choice. I strongly suggest that you take the time to get informed, do the best you can, and then make the decision that you think is right for you,” said Malone.
While the WHO has updated its guideline on myocarditis following cases related to mRNA vaccines, it says that the COVID-19 vaccines should be prioritized to those “most at risk of infection and most vulnerable to developing severe COVID-19 or dying.”
“Children with underlying medical risks to develop severe COVID-19 infection is recommended to be vaccinated [with the Pfizer vaccine], but only after adults with underlying medical conditions have been reached at a high coverage with two doses,” the WHO told The Epoch Times via email.
“Vaccine trials for children are ongoing and WHO will update its recommendations when the evidence or epidemiological situation warrants a change in the policy,” the health agency added.
The CDC, Pfizer, and Moderna did not respond to requests for comment.