Evidence suggests risk of myocarditis after Covid-19 vaccination is lower than that of Covid infection

December 21, 2021

What was claimed

Myocarditis acquired after a Covid-19 vaccination is more dangerous than that acquired after a Covid infection.

Our verdict

The evidence actually shows that you are at greater risk for myocarditis after Covid-19 infection and that you may have worse clinical outcomes.

What was claimed

Troponins (proteins released into the bloodstream after myocardial injury) are 10 to 100 times higher after myocarditis contracted by the vaccine.

Our verdict

There is no proof of this. Troponin levels can be as high or even higher after myocarditis acquired through Covid infection as after vaccination.

What was claimed

The lipid nanoparticles used to deliver the mRNA vaccine attack the heart.

Our verdict

There is no proof of this. Nanoparticles, which protect the delivery of mRNA vaccines, break down in circulation.

What was claimed

The risks of myocarditis in children after vaccination are more serious and greater than post-Covid.

Our verdict

Evidence suggests that the risk of myocarditis is higher after infection with Covid-19 and that clinical outcomes may be worse.

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A video posted on Facebook claims myocarditis is more dangerous if you catch it after a Covid-19 vaccination than from a Covid-19 infection.

The video, taken from a longer interview with US cardiologist Dr Peter A. McCullough, also claims vaccine-acquired myocarditis in children is “much more serious and more important than a post-Covid (infection)” with 90% requiring hospitalization.

However, although the evidence for this is limited, what we have suggests that the risks of this inflammatory heart disease are actually higher after a Covid-19 infection compared to post-vaccination.

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, and although most people recover from it, it can cause serious damage to the heart.

Are you at greater risk for myocarditis if you are vaccinated?

In the video, Dr McCullough says myocarditis after infection is “inconsequential” and doesn’t look like “what we see with vaccines.”

This is not what current research suggests.

Although there have been reported cases of myocarditis caused by vaccines and Covid infections, evidence shows that the risk of getting myocarditis from both infection and vaccination is low. A recent study found that “there was an increased risk of myocarditis within a week of receiving the first dose of the adenovirus and mRNA vaccines, and an increased risk after the second dose of both vaccines. MRNA ”. He also concluded that “in the same population there was a greater risk of myocarditis […] following infection with SARS-CoV-2.

A study published in September evaluating the safety of the Pfizer vaccine found that while there was an “excessive risk” of myocarditis in vaccinated subjects (about three events recorded per 100,000 people), it was much lower than the risk in those vaccinated. who had been infected with Covid (11 events recorded per 100,000 people).

Another study evaluated 718,365 patients with Covid-19 and among them, 35,820 developed new-onset myocarditis. In this group, 3.9% died of any cause within six months, compared to 2.9% in the control group without myocarditis, with associated higher risks of rehospitalization and heart attack.

Research published in December 2021 found that of 2.5 million people vaccinated, only 54 met study criteria for myocarditis. This represents about two cases per 100,000 and 76% of these cases were described as mild.

The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has recorded 789 yellow card reports of myocarditis after vaccination (along with a handful of other reported types of myocarditis, for example viral myocarditis). There have been reports of five deaths linked to inflammatory heart disease. The MHRA says symptoms are “generally mild, with individuals generally recovering within a short time with standard treatment and rest.”

He also adds: “The nature of yellow card reporting means that the events reported are not always proven side effects. Some events may have happened anyway, regardless of vaccination.

What about the risk in children?

Further in the video, Dr McCullough suggests that the risks of myocarditis in children are “much more serious and greater than post-Covid (infection)”.

It should be noted that there is not much evidence on the risk of clinical outcomes in children with myocarditis caused by Covid-19 infections let alone its association with vaccines. This may be in part due to the relative childhood of Covid-19 and the even more recent roll-out of its vaccines among younger age groups.

Recent data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that of more than seven million doses of Pfizer vaccine given to children aged five to 11, eight reports of adverse reactions met the “definition of. cases of myocarditis ”.

Currently in the UK only children aged 12 and over can be vaccinated.

However, existing evidence for this age group suggests that the risk of myocarditis is higher after infection with Covid-19 and that clinical outcomes may be worse.

Preprinted research compared clinical results in children with “classic viral” myocarditis to those with inflammatory disease-related myocarditis seen in some children after Covid-19 infection and vaccine-related myocarditis. Of 201 patients, 43 had classical myocarditis, 149 had myocarditis linked to the inflammatory disease and nine had myocarditis acquired from the Covid-19 vaccine.

The researchers found that compared to ‘classic viral’ patients, those with inflammatory disease-related myocarditis had higher cases of blood disorders and more severe inflammation when first seen by clinicians (although that they had better clinical results than “classic viral patients”). Patients diagnosed with myocarditis related to the inflammatory condition or vaccination both showed rapid recovery from symptoms and improvement in heart function.

Another study, published in December 2021, evaluated 140 episodes of confirmed or probable myocarditis after vaccination in adolescents and young adults. He found that 19% of patients were sent to intensive care. None, however, died or required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or Ecmo, where blood is recycled through an artificial lung machine before returning it to the body. The study concluded that “most cases of suspected myocarditis from the COVID-19 vaccine occurring in [people under 21] have a mild clinical course with rapid resolution of symptoms.

A preprint study (which was not peer reviewed) published in July assessed the risk of myocarditis after Covid infection in those under the age of 20 based on more than 34,000 medical records. In men aged 12 to 17, there were 450 cases of myocarditis per million infections after adjusting for missed cases and infections. For women of the same age group, there were 213 cases per million.

No evidence of claims regarding troponin level

During the video, Dr McCullough says that the levels of troponins (a protein released into the bloodstream that can detect myocardial damage) are “10 to 100 times higher” in patients who develop myocarditis after vaccination. compared to those who acquire it after infection.

Professor Saidi Mohiddin, professor of cardiology at Barts Health Center and Queen Mary University in London, told Full Fact via the Science Media Center that “the elevation of troponin in post-covid myocarditis can be as high or higher than that in post-vaccine myocarditis “.

He added: “In the relatively rare cases where patients develop clinically relevant acute myocarditis due to Covid-19 infection, the elevation of troponin can be dramatic, its magnitude reflecting the greater extent of the injury. myocardial.

“This is also true whatever the cause of the myocarditis: the elevation of troponin is a well-known anomaly in acute forms of myocarditis, long before the arrival of Covid-19 or RNA vaccines.”

Do lipid nanoparticles attack the heart?

Dr McCullough also says that there are preclinical studies that suggest lipid nanoparticles, (small structures that have an outer layer made of fat that does not dissolve in water and that protect the delivery of mRNA into them. vaccines), “enter the heart directly, the heart expresses the spike protein (and) the body attacks the heart”

There is no proof of this. An article published in the cardiology journal Circulation on myocarditis and vaccination against Covid-19 states: “It has not been shown that lipid nanoparticles or adjuvants used in mRNA vaccines induce an immune or inflammatory response and have not been associated with myocarditis either. “

Terrence Wilkins, Emeritus Professor of Nanofabrication Innovation at Leeds University, endorsed Circulation’s findings and said it was also what he had expected based on his team’s earlier work.

This article is part of our job checking for potentially bogus Facebook images, videos, and stories. You can read more about it and find out how to report Facebook content here. For the purposes of this program, we have qualified this claim as false because the evidence suggests that the risk of myocarditis and the resulting clinical outcomes following Covid-19 infection are greater and worse than those of myocarditis. acquired after vaccination.

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