CHICAGO (WLS) -- A handful of teenagers and young adults who received the COVID-19 vaccines have experienced heart inflammation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is recommending further study of the rare condition.
More than 1.67 billion COVID vaccine doses have been given worldwide. Here in the United States, close to 60% of the population has received at least one dose. Yet, the CDC is investigating a tiny fraction of cases, about a dozen, of people who developed inflammation of the heart, a condition known as myocarditis.
"The CDC issued this notice out of an abundance of caution, they are trying to investigate to see if they're related at all to the vaccine," said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Infectious Disease.
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At this point, public health officials want to stress the connection between the vaccine and myocarditis has not been proven. But, any concerns or possible side effects must be made public to give health professionals notice. It's being reported that the very small number of cases involved young adults and teenagers who developed the inflammation four days after a dose. The cases involved mostly males.
But the CDC says the numbers are not any higher than what is normal without the vaccine. Lurie Children's Hospital infectious disease specialist Dr. Larry Kociolek said even prior to COVID, it was not uncommon for Lurie to hospitalize several kids with myocarditis.
"There are several other things in the environment that can cause inflammation of the heart muscle like other viruses that we commonly see at this time of year," Kociolek said.
Kociolek said the small number of cases that followed the vaccine have been mild, which is not the case with some COVID cases.
"We have to keep in mind, the virus that causes COVID-19, like many respiratory viruses, can cause very severe disease in teenagers that cause inflammation of the heart," Kociolek said.
Doctors said they will continue to strongly urge parents to get their children vaccinated.