WHO supports mRNA COVID-19 shots despite rare heart risks

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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COVID-19 Vaccine
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The World Health Organization’s (WHO) advisory panel said that there was a “likely causal association” between coronavirus vaccine using mRNA technology and “very rare” heart inflammations. However, the benefits of the jab still outweigh the risks.

The health body’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) said that cases of myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, inflammation of the lining around the heart, had been reported in multiple countries, especially the US.

In a statement, the committee said, “The reported cases have typically occurred within days of vaccination, more commonly among younger males and more often following the second dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.”

“Very rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed following vaccination with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines,” GACVS said, referring to the two vaccines using such technology, by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. “The benefits of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the risks in reducing hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 infections,” it added.

Available data suggested myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination was generally mild and responded to treatment like rest or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the WHO said. Currently, follow-ups are ongoing to determine long-term outcomes.

“Vaccinated individuals should be instructed to seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms indicative of myocarditis or pericarditis such as new-onset and persisting chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations following vaccination,” GACVS added.

Last day, Europe’s drug regulator said it had found a possible link between very rare heart inflammation and COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. It too stressed that the benefits of the shots outweighed any risks.

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