Oregon Warns Doctors to Look for Heart Inflammation in Recently Vaccinated

The condition, which in cases so far is mild, may be unrelated, but an investigation is underway.

Tabor bicycle Cycling on Mount Tabor. (Mick Hangland-Skill) (Mick Hangland-Skill)

On Thursday, the Oregon Health Authority began warning doctors to look for heart inflammation in anyone who has chest pain and has recently been vaccinated, following six cases in Oregon and Washington.

So far, OHA is telling physicians, this is an investigation into a possible link between myocarditis or pericarditis and the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, particularly in young people. No link has been established.

OHA has not issued any public statements about a possible link between myocarditis, or heart inflammation, and COVID vaccines. But an email sent to doctors May 20 mentions six cases in the Pacific Northwest.

“Oregon Health Authority is aware of at least six cases of myocarditis in Washington and Oregon following COVID-19 vaccination, including cases in adolescents,” the May 20 notice to doctors reads. “To support ongoing monitoring for this potential adverse event, the Oregon Health Authority asks that providers evaluate for myocarditis or pericarditis following vaccination and report any such cases promptly to [the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System]. Providers are asked to report any cases with symptoms within the two weeks following vaccination, including first and second doses of vaccine.”

That warning fits with national action.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted a formal notice on May 17 that it was looking into “relatively few reports of myocarditis” particularly in “adolescents and young adults” and especially in male rather than female patients, The New York Times reported May 22. The cases “appear to be mild,” the CDC states.

When there are incidents of health problems following vaccines, one place doctors and scientists start is by looking to determine whether there is a higher incidence of the condition following vaccination. So far that has not been established, meaning the cases of heart inflammation may be completely unrelated to vaccines. But the CDC and OHA are asking doctors to be sure to report heart inflammation to VAERS for further review.

“It may simply be a coincidence that some people are developing myocarditis after vaccination,” Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York, told the Times. “It’s more likely for something like that to happen by chance, because so many people are getting vaccinated right now.”

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