The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into a heart condition that developed in several people who received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, the two mRNA vaccines currently available in the United States.
Myocarditis is a somewhat rare condition that causes inflammation of the heart. Symptoms can include irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain.
The CDC points out that the cases are more common in teenagers and young adults, especially males. Symptoms appeared about four days after the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Richard Novak, a principal investigator for a Moderna vaccine trial at UI Health says myocarditis is usually caused by a viral infection.
"It occurs about one or two in every 10,000 people. So, it’s not terribly rare," said Dr. Novak. "Often times, it’s a complication of a virus."
Dr. Novak says COVID-19 is known to cause the heart condition. He believes it's too early to tell if the vaccine plays any role in causing it.
Meanwhile, Dr. Wayne Franklin of Loyola University Medical Center says the reported cases have been mild. While severe cases can lead to hypertension or cardiac failure, Dr. Franklin says it shouldn't deter anyone from getting the vaccine.
"The risk of not getting the vaccine and getting COVID is much higher," said Dr. Franklin.
As the CDC investigates the cases, disruption to vaccine distribution isn’t expected.