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Israeli study finds probable link between second dose of Pfizer vaccine and myocarditis

The Israeli Health Ministry announced on Tuesday that a limited number of heart inflammation cases, mostly in young males who got Pfizer’s (PFE.N) COVID-19 vaccine in Israel, were likely related to the vaccine.

Pfizer responded in a statement that it was aware of the myocarditis cases reported in Israel, but that they believed no causal relationship to its vaccine had been proven. Pfizer cooperates with the Israeli Ministry of Health’s Vaccine Safety Department on a regular basis to evaluate data, according to the company.

Between December 2020 and May 2021, 275 instances of myocarditis were documented in Israel among more than 5 million vaccinated persons, according to the conclusions of research commissioned by the ministry.

According to the study, which was undertaken by three teams of specialists, the majority of patients who had cardiac inflammation spent no more than four days in the hospital and 95 percent of the cases were categorized as being not severe.

According to a statement, the study revealed that “there is a probable link between receiving the second dose (of Pfizer) vaccine and the appearance of myocarditis among men aged 16 to 30.” This effect was shown to be stronger among men aged 16 to 19 than in other age groups, according to the study.

Last month, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel advised that the likelihood of a relationship between myocarditis and mRNA vaccines, such as those made by Pfizer and Moderna Inc., be investigated further.

In a May 24 meeting, the CDC advisory group said that the data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) – which relies on individuals to report results – showed a higher than expected number of observed myocarditis or pericarditis cases in 16– to 24-year-olds.

Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) stated that cardiac inflammation following the Pfizer vaccination was not a reason for concern, since such occurrences occurred at a similar incidence to those seen in the general population. It went on to say that young males were particularly vulnerable to the disease at the time.

Israel has withheld making the immunizations available to its 12- to 15-year-old population pending the Health Ministry’s findings. A ministry committee recommended vaccinating the teenagers at the same time that the findings were published, according to a senior official.

“The committee gave the green light for vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds, and this will be possible as of next week,” Nachman Ash, Israel’s pandemic-response coordinator, told Radio 103 FM. “The efficacy of the vaccine outweighs the risk.”

Israel’s economy has fully opened, however inbound tourism remains restricted, with COVID-19 infections down to a few each day and total active cases at just 340 across the country. Israel’s population has already been vaccinated to the tune of 55 percent.

Restrictions on social distancing and the requirement for special green vaccination cards to visit specific restaurants and venues have been eliminated as of Tuesday.

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