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A group of government health officials and medical organizations issued a statement supporting the COVID-19 vaccines for adolescents and young adults after a meeting of a special advisory committee with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The vaccines are safe and effective, and they prevent COVID-19 illness. They will help protect you and your family and keep your community safe. We strongly encourage everyone age 12 and older who are eligible to receive the vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization to get vaccinated, as the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any harm,” the statement said.
The statement was endorsed by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Assistant Secretary of Health at Health and Human Services Dr. Rachel Levine, and organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
The statement comes after the CDC’s Advisory Commission on Immunization Practices met Wednesday to examine the evidence of a link between the mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna and heart inflammation in teenagers and young adults.
During the meeting, ACIP members said there is likely a link between the COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis and pericarditis. But they also suggested the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks.
ACIP estimated that for every 1 million people under age 30 inoculated with mRNA vaccines, over 70,000 cases of COVID-19 would be prevented, along with more than 4,400 hospitalizations and 36 deaths. At most, 160 cases of heart inflammation would occur.
The joint statement emphasized the risk of heart problems from contracting COVID-19 was greater than from the vaccine.
“The facts are clear: This is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination," the statement said. "In addition, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe.”
Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would add a warning to the fact sheets accompanying the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines about the risk of heart inflammation.
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Original Author: David Hogberg