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Recent reports of heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccination show safe monitoring system is working.

You’ve likely seen the recent report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about some cases of heart inflammation following COVID-19 vaccination. We’ve seen the report, too, and are monitoring the situation closely. 

CDC said on May 17 it is reviewing a small number of reports of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart lining) after vaccination with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). On Monday, Washington State Department of Health said it was aware of a small number of cases in our state. Further investigation is needed to see if these cases are connected to COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s important to know these cases are rare, and most appear to be mild. The rate of myocarditis cases after vaccination is similar to the rate of myocarditis in the general population. This means there may not be a link between the vaccine and the illness at all. 

This report shows the vaccination safety system is working. Possible reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are swiftly investigated and the public is always informed.

The CDC safety monitoring system is designed to detect possible problems like this. When many people get vaccinated quickly, as in a pandemic, reports like these can occur. CDC and local public health officials review every case to determine if there is a link between the vaccine and the illness.

What we know.

The reports of myocarditis occur more among male adolescents and young adults. They typically happen within 4 days after receiving the second shot of an mRNA vaccine.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart tissue. Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of the thin, saclike tissue surrounding the heart. Symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart rhythm irregularities. 

Most cases resolve with no long-term effects. It’s a common condition and typically occurs after infection with a virus. COVID-19 infection can cause myocarditis. 

If you got vaccine within the past 2 weeks and experience any of the symptoms above, contact your healthcare provider.

Healthcare providers should report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.

Vaccination effort continues.

COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority. We take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination seriously. 

In the meantime, we continue to vaccinate everyone who is eligible in Pierce County. The vaccines are our best path out of this pandemic. 

Register for your vaccination today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. Everyone 12 and older is eligible. You can also just drop in at any clinic and get vaccinated. No appointment is necessary.

If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help. Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week.

Your role to stop the spread of COVID-19 remains critical.

A nurse talks to a patient at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic.