The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cancelled its meeting to discuss the occurrence of heart inflammation among people who received the COVID-19 vaccine to observe the Juneteenth national holiday.
CDC advisers were scheduled to meet on Friday to assess the possibility of a link between rare cases of myocarditis and mRNA COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, Reuters reported.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration confirmed 268 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis among people ages 30 and younger after receiving the coronavirus vaccine, according to Precision Vaccinations.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices was postponed to June 23-25 after President Joe Biden declared June 19 as the Juneteenth Day of Observance.
Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States in commemoration of enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, who were freed from bondage on June 19, 1865.
“I call upon the people of the United States to acknowledge and celebrate the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of Black Americans, and commit together to eradicate systemic racism that still undermines our founding ideals and collective prosperity,” Biden said in his proclamation.
The ACIP was going to conduct a benefit-risk discussion Friday on the COVID-19 vaccine, specifically with regard to myocarditis and pericarditis in teenagers and young adults.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis is an inflammation of the sac around the heart, NPR reported.
The CDC has recommended everyone over the age of 12 get vaccinated, and nearly 7 million teens and preteens have received at least one dose as of Thursday.
After Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for use in young people, federal agencies received reports of mild chest pain and other signs of myocarditis in a small percentage of recently vaccinated teens.
“These cases are rare, and the vast majority have fully resolved with rest and supportive care,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House news briefing on Thursday.
“CDC will present details about more than 300 confirmed cases of myocarditis and pericarditis reported to CDC and FDA among the over 20 million adolescents and young adults vaccinated in the United States.”
She added that the CDC has been collecting reports from clinicians about these cases and “reviewing them to ensure, in real time, the safety of our vaccines.”
Paul Offit, a member of an FDA vaccine advisory committee and a professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said that he believed there is a causal link between heart inflammation and the second dose of the vaccine.
“I think it’s real,” he said, according to NPR. “And the good news is at least so far it looks to be transient and self-resolving.”
Offit added that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk.
“Take a stadium full of 100,000 people between the ages of 16 and 39, which is the subset that appears to be at greater risk,” Offit said. “Vaccinate all of them, and two might get myocarditis.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.