ACC Underscores Safety of COVID-19 Vaccine

With questions again being raised about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly in adolescent boys and young men receiving mRNA vaccines, the ACC is underscoring the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination, especially for patients with cardiovascular disease and related risk factors who remain among those at greatest risk from the virus.

The ACC has long supported vaccination as a vital protective measure against dangerous illness and for personal and community health. "There is no question that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination generally outweigh the risks. While we do acknowledge that there is a very small risk of myocarditis after vaccination, particularly in adolescent boys and young men receiving mRNA vaccines, these instances are extremely rare, generally mild and treatable, and in most cases resolve quickly and without intervention," said Eric Stecker, MD, FACC, chair of ACC's Science and Quality Committee. "We should be clear that the risk of long COVID, heart damage and death are higher among unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, and we therefore encourage everyone, including young men, to receive a primary (two-shot) vaccination for COVID-19."

Stecker notes that it is reasonable for adolescent and young males to consult with a physician prior to receiving additional mRNA boosters, given the small but elevated risk of myocarditis in this group.

Throughout the pandemic the ACC has developed clinical guidance by critically evaluating the full spectrum of peer-reviewed, scientific evidence to make recommendations on a variety of topics, including vaccination benefits and risks. Most recently, the 2022 ACC Expert Consensus Decision Pathway on Cardiovascular Sequelae of COVID-19 in Adults addressed myocarditis and other myocardial involvement, post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection, and return to play. New CardioSmart patient tools include infographics on long COVID and return to play, as well as a post-COVID health history and symptom checklist and a fact sheet on common heart issues after COVID-19.

"The College welcomes continued scientific study of COVID-19, vaccination and related complications as this is a nuanced topic with continued health ramifications likely to be discovered for years to come," said Stecker. "We encourage people with questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccination to talk to their clinician to determine the best course of action for their own health needs and concerns."

For more COVID-19 clinical guidance, published research and expert perspectives, visit ACC's COVID-19 Hub.

Clinical Topics: COVID-19 Hub, Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies, Prevention, Sports and Exercise Cardiology

Keywords: COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccines, SARS-CoV-2, Cardiovascular Diseases, Myocarditis, Return to Sport, Vaccination, RNA, Messenger, Heart Injuries, Physicians, Risk Factors

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