Rare vaccine side effect listed for Pfizer & Moderna – what is heart inflammation?

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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has updated its safety information for both vaccines to include the potential side effect of heart inflammation. However, those concerned should note that the condition is extremely rare and comes up “typically mild” in people experiencing it. The MHRA said anyone who experiences “chest pain, shortness of breath or feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart” after getting a jab should seek medical assistance urgently.

The agnecy investigated less than 100 cases in the UK of reported heart inflammation, also called myocarditis.

They concluded the cases could be linked to vaccination.

Young men are the most likely to be affected as things stand, especially after receiving their second dose, the research suggests.

Last week, Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, said: “We have carefully reviewed reports of suspected adverse reactions involving types of heart inflammation known as myocarditis and pericarditis.

“We have concluded that the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna may be linked with a small increase in the risk of these very rare conditions.

“The cases tended to be mild and the vast majority recovered with simple treatment and rest.”

Scientists found 23 cases of heart inflammation in US military personnel as well after they were given either the Pfizer or Moderna jabs.

Health experts continue to stress the benefits of inoculation far outweigh the risks of vaccination.

What is heart inflammation?

Although the cause of myocarditis is not always easily identifiable, it’s usually caused by:

  • A viral, bacterial or fungal infection
  • A chest infection
  • An auto-immune disease (when your own immune system attacks the body)

However, in this case, the heart inflammation has been brought on after vaccination.

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If you have myocarditis or heart inflammation, you usually develop symptoms one to two weeks after the initial infection.

Common symptoms include:

  • A stabbing pain and/or tightness in the chest which may spread across the body
  • Shortness of breath when lightly exercising or walking
  • Difficulty breathing when resting
  • Flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature, tiredness and fatigue
  • Palpitations or any abnormal heart rhythm

Sometimes, symptoms could go away on their own, so an official diagnosis won’t be needed.

Treatment for heart inflammation usually depends on the cause.

Medical recovery can involve close monitoring and medication, including anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics.

In long term cases, heart inflammation can affect your heart muscle and tissue, meaning you could develop heart failure.

If the damage has become really severe, you may need a heart transplant, but again, this is very rare.

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