CDC finds COVID-19 vaccines not linked to fatal heart problems in young people

There is no evidence that mRNA Covid vaccines cause fatal cardiac arrest or other fatal heart problems in adolescents and young adults, said a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published this Thursday.

Since the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were authorized in late 2020, anti-vaccination groups in the United States have blamed the shots for deadly heart problems in young athletes.

One of the most egregious examples of vaccine misinformation involves the security of the Buffalo Bills, Damar Hamlin, 26, who in 2023 collapsed during a Monday Night Football game as a result of cardiac arrest. Hamlin was resuscitated on the field and eventually recovered.. He returned to play with the Bills last season.

“When Damar Hamlin fell, there was immediate talk that it was possibly related to vaccines,” said study co-author Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director of communicable diseases and immunizations at the public health division of the Massachusetts Health Authority. Oregon. “This is pretty much what we were trying to address with this analysis.”

The new report's findings come from an analysis of nearly 1,300 death certificates of Oregon residents ages 16 to 30 who died from a heart condition or unknown reasons between June 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. During This time period, nearly one million teens and young adults in the state had been vaccinated against COVID-19, the authors noted.

The researchers focused on people who had received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna and died within 100 days after vaccination.

Of the 40 deaths that occurred among people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, three occurred in that time period.

Two of the deaths were attributed to underlying chronic diseases.

The third death was recorded as “undetermined natural cause,” and toxicology tests were negative for alcohol, cannabis, methamphetamine or other illicit substances.

The medical examiner could not confirm or rule out COVID-19 vaccination as the cause of death; however, none of the death certificates attributed the deaths to the vaccines.

Although It remains unclear whether the vaccine caused the third deathCieslak noted that the analysis showed that 30 people died from COVID-19 during that time period, most of them not vaccinated.

“When you weigh the risks and benefits, you have to look at that and say, 'You have to go for the vaccine,'” he said.

Damar Hamlin #3 of the Buffalo Bills

Dr. Leslie Cooper, head of the department of cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was not involved in the study, said the researchers were “pretty generous” in their analysis, adding that the 100-day time frame after vaccination was widespread.

“They went above and beyond to try to capture any possible cardiac deaths due to vaccination,” he said.

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating and pumping blood to the rest of the body. It is not the same as a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is limited or blocked, or myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle.

For people under 35 years of age, the causes of cardiac arrest are often unclear. It may be due to genetic defects or heart dysfunctions, such as heart valve problems.

Even with the long period of time, Cooper added, the analysis shows that the risk of sudden death in young adults after vaccination is significantly lower than the risk of sudden cardiac death from any other cause: About 1 in 500,000 a year, compared to 1 in 100,000 a year, according to their estimates.

The data shows “no sign of increased cardiac deaths associated with Covid mRNA vaccines,” he said. “Their conclusions are quite reasonable.”

According to Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children's Hospital, no vaccine has been conclusively linked to sudden cardiac death.

Although mRNA vaccines have been linked to a small risk of myocarditis, the heart condition tends to be much milder than what is typically seen with traditional myocarditis from COVID-19 infection, he added, and most people recover. completely within a few days.

“This adds to the evidence that People don't drop dead from receiving mRNA Covid vaccines”Levy commented on the study.