The risk of developing inflammation in the heart after getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is low, said a new international study published this week.

Myopericarditis Incidence Rate

After looking at more than 400 million vaccination doses from international databases, researchers indicated in their study published Monday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine that the overall risk of myopericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination is rare.

The team focused on examining the incidence of the heart condition among those who received vaccines between January 1947 and December 2021 and found that the rate for COVID-19 was 18 cases per million doses, while the rate for other viral vaccinations was 56 cases per million doses.

Myopericarditis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the heart muscles. In some cases, it leads to severe permanent damage to the heart. Though mostly caused by viruses, it can also occur as a result of vaccinations in rare instances.

The researchers analyzed more than 20 studies utilizing international databases. Of these, 11 focused on COVID-19 vaccinations and their effects. The rest of the studies covered vaccinations for smallpox, influenza and other viral diseases.

“Our research suggests that the overall risk of myopericarditis appears to be no different for this newly approved group of vaccines against COVID- 19, compared to vaccines against other diseases.” Dr. Kollengode Ramanathan, one of the study authors, told Medical Xpress.

Implications Of The Findings

Among the cases with COVID-19 vaccinations, the risk was found to be higher for those who received the mRNA vaccines. The incidence was also higher in males below the age of 30, and the condition was reported after their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ramanathan, a cardiac intensivist at National University Hospital, Singapore, pointed out that their findings should help boost the public’s confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines amid the ongoing pandemic. “The risk of such rare events should be balanced against the risk of myopericarditis from infection and these findings should bolster public confidence in the safety of COVID-19 vaccinations,” the doctor said.

Co-author Dr. Jyoti Somani also implied the same thing when he noted that myopericarditis is a rare occurrence after any vaccination, not just COVID-19. The infectious diseases specialist at National University Hospital, Singapore, added that the benefits of getting jabbed against COVID-19 outweigh the risks.

“The occurrence of myopericarditis following non-COVID-19 vaccination could suggest that myopericarditis is a side effect of the inflammatory processes induced by any vaccination and is not unique to the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins in COVID-19 vaccines or infection. This also highlights that the risks of such infrequent adverse events should be offset by the benefits of vaccination, which include a lower risk of infection, hospitalization, severe disease, and death from COVID-19,” Somani said.