Myocarditis is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed. Viral infections are a leading cause of myocarditis, and COVID-19 itself is known to cause heart inflammation. Data from clinical trials and ongoing monitoring of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns show that the benefits of the COVID-19 RNA vaccines outweigh their risks. Health authorities recommend that everyone aged 12 and above get vaccinated, because the risks posed by COVID-19, such as health complications and death, are greater than that posed by the vaccines.
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Adverse event reporting systems, such as the Yellow Card scheme in the U.K. or VAERS in the U.S., are designed to help health authorities monitor the safety of medical products such as the COVID-19 vaccines. However, the databases contain unverified information and cannot demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines caused adverse events. The reports can be a starting point for a detailed investigation into potential side effects, which happened for rare cases of blood clotting and anaphylaxis. Overall, the U.K. regulatory body, the MHRA, still concludes that the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines outweigh their known risks.
A study of adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 found that one-third required intensive care and five percent required invasive mechanical ventilation. Although the mortality rate for adolescents is relatively low, survivors can face persistent health problems due to issues such as long COVID, which is detrimental to their quality of life. The CDC has stressed the importance of vaccination for this age group. The benefits of COVID-19 vaccines were shown to outweigh any potential risks. Reports of deaths on the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System alone don’t prove that COVID-19 vaccines were the cause of death.
Pregnant women have an increased risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 relative to non-pregnant women. As a result, pregnant people are included in vaccination priority lists in several countries, such as Belgium and Israel. Though the COVID-19 vaccines were not tested in pregnant people during clinical trials, preliminary results from both research and ongoing monitoring of people who have received the COVID-19 vaccines have not identified any safety concerns for pregnant people or their babies.
The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 allows the virus to bind to and infect cells, making it an ideal target for vaccine development. Recent studies suggested that the spike protein produced during infection alone might cause cardiovascular damage in COVID-19 patients. While the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S. induce the cells to produce the spike protein, the protein generated through vaccination behaves differently from the spike protein produced in infection. Clinical trials and ongoing vaccination campaigns, which have vaccinated more than 890 million people worldwide, demonstrated that COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and effective at preventing the disease.
Clinical trials showed that COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the disease and have an excellent safety profile. While infection can also confer protective immunity, this also comes with the risks associated with disease, such as death and health complications. Vaccination develops immunity without running these risks, making vaccines the safer choice. COVID-19 survivors also benefit from vaccination. For example, vaccination may help prevent reinfection in survivors who don’t develop protective immunity from infection alone, while vaccine boosters can help build immunity to virus variants.
COVID-19 caused millions of infections and over 3.5 million deaths worldwide. Most children and young adults who get infected only experience mild symptoms of the disease. However, a small proportion of people younger than 24 can still develop severe COVID-19 and die. Even those that survive the disease can suffer from persistent health problems after recovery. Despite the high survival rate among young people, COVID-19 vaccines can help protect them from risks associated with the disease. In parallel, COVID-19 vaccination can help reduce the spread of the virus, especially among vulnerable people who aren’t able to take the vaccine for medical reasons.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky declared in May 2021 that hospitals are reporting cases of COVID-19 infections in people who have been fully vaccinated, which are known as breakthrough cases. Some of these cases resulted in deaths, which may have been due to COVID-19 or other causes, like heart attack. Only cases in which COVID-19 was the immediate cause of death or did initiate the chain of events leading to the death are counted as deaths by COVID-19, according to CDC guidelines.
COVID-19 vaccines underwent preclinical testing in animals and clinical trials in tens of thousands of people, which established their safety and efficacy. Such testing is also a prerequisite for receiving emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. While deaths have occurred among vaccinated people, it is important to remember that more than 157 million people in the U.S. have been vaccinated, and that the rate of deaths among vaccinated people isn’t higher than that of unvaccinated people. This indicates that COVID-19 vaccines aren’t the cause of these deaths.
A death may be attributed to COVID-19 only if the clinical condition of the patient is consistent with the disease’s symptoms. Health agencies continuously monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and any severe adverse event that occurs after vaccination, including death, is reported and investigated. No causal link has been formally established between COVID-19 vaccines and death.