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COVID-19 | CDC looking into reports of heart inflammation after Pfizer, Moderna vaccine 2nd jab

As of May 31, the agency had 275 preliminary reports of such inflammation in 16- to 24-year-olds, CDC's Dr Tom Shimabukuro told a government vaccine meeting on Thursday. That's out of more than 12 million second-dose injections of the vaccines.

June 11, 2021 / 01:02 PM IST

US health officials are investigating what appear to be higher than expected reports of heart inflammation in male teens and young adults after they get a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

It's not clear if the heart inflammation is caused by the shots and the reports still are rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It urges everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated.

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As of May 31, the agency had 275 preliminary reports of such inflammation in 16- to 24-year-olds, CDC's Dr Tom Shimabukuro told a government vaccine meeting on Thursday. That's out of more than 12 million second-dose injections of the vaccines.

The cases seem to occur more often in men and in younger people, and most already have fully recovered, he said.

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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This kind of heart inflammation can be caused by a variety of infections, including a bout of COVID-19, as well as certain medications — and there have been rare reports following other types of vaccinations.

The CDC's vaccine advisory committee will meet on June 18 to further evaluate the possible risk.

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PTI
first published: Jun 11, 2021 01:01 pm

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