Inflammation of heart muscle due to COVID-19 vaccine rare in Canada: PHAC

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The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on Friday confirmed that rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart) after immunization with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines continue to be reported in Canada and around the world.

“Cases of myocarditis and/or pericarditis related to vaccines occur more often in adolescents and adults under 30 years of age, more often in males than in females, more often after a second dose of an mRNA vaccine than after a first dose and most occur within seven days of vaccination,” PHAC said in a statement.

Vaccine safety surveillance data in Canada also suggest relatively higher rates of myocarditis and/or pericarditis reported after Spikevax (Moderna) vaccination compared to Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), PHAC added.

While follow-up is ongoing, the available data indicate that the majority of affected individuals, even if hospitalized, experience relatively mild illness, respond well to conservative treatment, and recover quickly, PHAC said, adding that it is also important to consider that the risk of cardiac complications, including myocarditis, has been shown to be substantially increased following SARS-CoV-2 infection, and that it is higher following infection than after vaccination.

PHAC also added that individuals in Canada should be assured that all COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in Canada have been rigorously tested and carefully reviewed by Health Canada. “Health Canada’s independent drug authorization process is recognized around the world for its high standards and rigorous reviews.”

“Observational studies, including those from Canada, continue to show that both approved mRNA vaccines result in high vaccine effectiveness, particularly against severe disease,” PHAC said, adding that some studies suggest that Spikevax (Moderna) vaccine has higher effectiveness and/or immune response and less waning immunity compared to Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccine.

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