Dr. Adams: Heart inflammation after vaccine rare; warning still important

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dr. Jerome Adams, WISH-TV medical expert, joined Phil Sanchez on Thursday with answers to the latest medical questions surrounding COVID-19 and vaccinations.

What are the dangers of heart inflammation?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has received more than 1,200 reports of heart inflammation in people who received the shot. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday said it planned to add a warning to the mRNA vaccine.

“Well, it’s important for people to know what myocarditis and pericarditis is. That’s inflammation of your heart or the sacs surrounding your heart, and it can cause symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. I myself had myocarditis several years ago after a viral infection. And we know that many people get myocarditis or pericarditis after getting COVID. What’s new is that about 300 reports have come in and been confirmed of myocarditis after people have been vaccinated. Three hundred reports amongst 300 million vaccinations — so, incredibly rare. But the reason why the CDC took a deeper dive on this is because even though it was rare, we know that it’s occurring more frequently in younger people, particularly males under the age of 24,” Adams said.

Is putting a warning on the vaccine a good idea?

“Well, it shows us that the process is working and I absolutely think there should be a warning on the vaccine because it helps physicians know to be aware and alert. And someone calls in and says, ‘Hey I’m having chest pain and I’m 18 years old.’ or a parent calls in — physicians now know to suspect myocarditis and pericarditis. But I don’t want parents to be scared. I got my 15- and 16-year-old vaccinated, both boys. I would do it again because the risk of getting COVID still — and CDC Advisory committee said this — far outweighs the risk of the vaccine,” Adams said.

Will a warning make more people not want to get the shot?

“Well I’m always concerned that when people hear negative things that they might not want to get the shot. But that said, everything we do in life — everything we do in medicine — has a risk and a benefit. And that is why we have a process to look for side effects. That’s why we have this emergency meeting of the advisory committee and the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, myself as a former surgeon general. We all believe, based on the data that we’ve looked at, that the risk of the vaccine is minimal compared to the risk of you actually getting COVID. We’ve had over 3,000 people die under the age of 24 from COVID in the last year, compared to 300 cases of myocarditis. And most of them have been very mild,” Adams said.

What do people need to know about the Delta variant of COVID-19?

“Well the Delta variant was the variant that started in India. It caused a new wave after India had seen their cases going down, and then it caused a wave in the U.K. And we’re very worried about a new wave here in the United States, secondary to the Delta variant. An important thing for people to know: Vaccines protect you against the Delta variant. Prior infection does not. So we have a tool, unlike the the U.K. and unlike India. We have a tool right now to protect us before this wave comes. So get your vaccine,” Adams said.