Israel is Investigating Potential BioNTech/Pfizer Vaccine Health Complications

Israel is Investigating Potential BioNTech/Pfizer Vaccine Health Complications

Dozens of cases of myocarditis have reportedly occurred in Israel after vaccination with the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine – primarily in young men.

Israel Ministry of Health is investigating cases of myocarditis related to BioNTech and Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. A preliminary study showed “dozens of cases” of myocarditis – in more than five million people vaccinated. The cases mainly occurred after the second dose.

Most of the patients were discharged from the hospital in good shape. However, two people – a 22-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man with no previous illnesses – died. Further examinations are now supposed to confirm a potential correlation.

Heart muscle inflammation can occur at any age. They are often triggered by viruses but also by bacteria, fungi or parasites. Classically, myocarditis occurs a few days to weeks after a viral infection. Those affected often show symptoms such as tiredness, fever, shortness of breath, chest pain and palpitations. The inflammation can also be asymptomatic. It usually heals without any consequences, but there can also be long-term effects such as heart failure. There are seldom fatal courses from heart failure.

It is still unclear whether the number of people with inflammation of the heart muscle tissue is unusually high and related to the vaccine. It is difficult to establish a link between disease and vaccine because myocarditis is often uncomplicated and can be caused by various viruses. A similar number of cases have also been reported over the past few years.

However, the study documents a five-fold increase in the incidence among young men. In general, after the second dose of vaccination, one person in 100,000 vaccinated was affected by myocarditis. In the case of young men, it was reportedly one in twenty thousand.

Manufacturer Pfizer said it was “aware of Israeli observations of the disease, which has mostly occurred in young men who received the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.” Adverse side effects are regularly and thoroughly monitored, and the company has not observed any higher rates of myocarditis than would be expected in the general population. “There is currently no evidence that myocarditis is a risk associated with the use of Pfizer / BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine.”

Israel is the world leader in vaccinating against the pandemic. Almost 60 per cent of the country’s 9.3 million residents have so far received the vaccine from BioNTech / Pfizer. The nationwide database has already shown that the vaccine prevents both Covid-19 symptoms and severe courses of the disease.

Photo by Lisa Ferdinando/Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

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