Relax! Covid vaccine-related heart inflammation cases still rare and mild

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned out to be an eye-opener for the healthcare system as well as the general public with millions of people losing their lives and their loved ones in the pandemic.

While the disease is generally associated with the respiratory system, the virus has been known to affect several other parts of the human body or speed up the existing ailments of a person due to which the only way out of the pandemic and to get back to “normalcy” turned out to be vaccination.

While vaccination against Covid-19 provides clear public health benefits, several reports have been coming out suggesting that taking the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine increases the chances of a person getting diagnosed with Myocarditis.

Myocarditis is a heart-related ailment in which myocardium (heart muscle) gets inflamed and reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood causing chest pain, shortness of breath, and rapid or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and while reports have linked it with Covid vaccine, the studies have limitations and cannot prove cause and effect.

The Covid-19 virus is known to affect several vital organs of the human body just like in the case of the heart. Coronavirus can cause inflammation in the heart preventing the heart from functioning properly and it has been proven that people having been diagnosed with it have a higher chance of getting Myocarditis than patients having received the vaccine.

Myocarditis targets the younger generation from people post puberty to people younger than 30 years of age.

The heart ailment is also known to be more susceptible to men than women due to higher testosterone levels present in males and has been linked to a variety of viruses in the past as well including influenza and coxsackieviruses.

Any Covid-19 vaccine-related myocarditis cases are still rare, and the instances that have been reported have often been mild. Those affected typically recover rapidly with rest and simple treatments and result in a return to normal heart function.

According to several researches, no vaccine is more likely to cause myocarditis in the long term and people who are vaccinated have a much lower risk of getting other serious complications caused by Covid-19.

As the pandemic has been a wake-up call for global health affecting millions, the need of vaccination is still important to build protection against the Covid-19 disease and its variants preventing several severe illnesses or the need of hospitalization in case one gets the virus. The safest method for preventing hospital stays, severe long-term health effects, and mortality is still considered to be vaccination.

Experts have also suggested that an increased time-frame by governments around the world between each vaccine dose has helped reduce the risk of myocarditis, as it provides ample time for antibody formation with fewer side-effects like fever, headache or fatigue (tiredness).

The global health sector is still in a state of recovery even though the cases and people affected by the virus have curbed down.

The virus is still very much in play, making vaccination important and paramount in these conditions.

(Dr Chhajer is Director and Cardiologist, SAAOL Heart Centre, New Delhi and former consultant at AIIMS-New Delhi)

20221211-130006

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