An advisory panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet Wednesday to discuss rare instances of heart inflammation among young persons who received the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Federal officials are looking at about 800 reports of heart-muscle inflammation — or myocarditis — and pericarditis, which inflames the membrane around the heart. Most cases are mild and involve chest pain or heart-rhythm issues, though over a dozen patients have been hospitalized.
More than half of the instances were reported among people ages 12 to 24, even though the cohort accounts for around one in 10 of the vaccines given so far. Scientists are still trying to determine what causes the problem and whether it is definitely caused by the vaccines.
The unusual concentration of reports in younger persons prompted the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to convene so they can pore over the data and discuss recommendations on how the vaccine is used.
What they decide could have implications for whether children under age 12 are given these COVID-19 vaccines as trials in younger children continue.
The CDC still strongly recommends the vaccines for those age 12 and older as aggressive variants circulate and result in a greater share of younger people being hospitalized than earlier in the pandemic.
Thom Mayer, the chief medical adviser for the NFL Players Association, told ESPN that a possible connection between heart inflammation and the messenger-RNA vaccines is among a list of top concerns that vaccine-hesitant players cite as the league tries to get players immunized before the season.
A Buffalo Bills player, Tommy Sweeney, has battled myocarditis but for a different reason — he got the virus last year, triggering the condition.