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Understanding the Risk of Myocarditis for Children Getting Vaccinated

A pediatric cardiologist explains what myocarditis is and why the side effect shouldn't be a major concern for parents when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Cleveland Clinic – Multiple cases of myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle, have been reported in young people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. The news has left some parents worried, but a pediatric cardiologist said that kind of side effect is pretty rare.
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Cleveland Clinic – Multiple cases of myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle, have been reported in young people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. The news has left some parents worried, but a pediatric cardiologist said that kind of side effect is pretty rare.

“I think that’s important to note. There’s just under 180 million people that have been vaccinated with the COVID vaccination and we’re looking at about 1,000 or so cases of myocarditis and again, those cases are mostly self-limited,” explained Peter Aziz, MD, of Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

He said researchers are still trying to understand why the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can cause myocarditis. However, they do know that most of the cases appear to be mild and were easily treated through either medication or rest.

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Common symptoms include chest pain or chest discomfort. He said if you notice that your child is experiencing anything like that, contact their physician right away.

The CDC has been reviewing the cases and determined that children 12 and older should continue to get vaccinated. The agency also added a warning label to the fact sheets for Pfizer and Moderna.

Dr. Aziz said he can understand why some parents may be concerned but believes the benefits outweigh the risk.

“What we see given the vaccine and what we see in patients without the vaccine, it’s still a no brainer. And then you take that from an individual standpoint and spread it to the population at large and clearly the vaccination is the right thing to do,” said Dr. Aziz.

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He said if your child does have a diagnosed heart condition, they should still get vaccinated unless otherwise told by their physician.

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