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Healthwatch 16: Myocarditis and COVID-19

Reports show COVID-19 vaccines are linked to myocarditis, but according to doctors at Geisinger, people with COVID are more likely to develop the heart condition.

DANVILLE, Pa. — Many doctors at Geisinger are supporters of the COVID-19 vaccine. Geisinger pediatric cardiologist dr. Karen Lurito says some of her patients have been hesitant to get vaccinated because of the risk of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. 

Myocarditis has been linked to men between the ages of 16 and 29 as a rare side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"In my experience, it's definitely caused family members, parents, to be concerned and to question and request advice from their physicians," Dr. Lurito said.

But Dr. Lurito is more concerned with patients getting myocarditis while infected with COVID-19 rather than as a side effect of the vaccine.

"People who have COVID infections are more likely to get myocarditis as a complication of the illness compared to those who do not have COVID."

A study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the development of myocarditis from the COVID-19 vaccine is rare. Out of five million people in the study, only 136 people developed the heart condition.

"The majority of the patients who had myocarditis attributed to the vaccination had very mild illness and recovered completely."

Dr. Lurito says those numbers are higher for people who don't have the vaccine.

"The course of the illness is much more severe to have COVID infection developing myocarditis secondary to COVID infection than any of the side effects obtained from getting vaccinated against COVID."

You can get more information on the COVID-19 vaccines from Geisinger's website.

Watch more Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.

 

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