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Yale study examines myocarditis risk after COVID vaccinations

Researchers wanted to know why COVID-19 vaccines might cause young men to have an increased risk of myocarditis and how to prevent the risk.
Yale study examines myocarditis risk after COVID vaccinations
Posted at 1:57 PM, May 08, 2023

Researchers from Yale University released findings this month as it investigates why young men who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 face an increased risk of myocarditis.

The study released by Yale this month followed a 2022 report that found young men, generally in their teens or early 20s, who got both doses of COVID-19 vaccines had an increased risk of myocarditis. 

Myocarditis is considered by the American Heart Association as a rare but serious condition. The organization says symptoms can often resolve themselves, but can sometimes lead to stroke, heart attack or heart failure. 

The Yale study notes that the risk of myocarditis is higher among those who are unvaccinated who get COVID-19 than from getting the vaccine. Although there is also a link between COVID-19 infection and myocarditis, it was not the vaccine’s antibodies that caused the increased risk, researchers said. 

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They said the condition was caused by a generalized response involving immune cells and inflammation. 

“The immune systems of these individuals get a little too revved up and over-produce cytokine and cellular responses,” said Carrie Lucas, Yale associate professor of immunobiology and lead researcher.

The researchers noted the small sample size of its study, and noted “variations in age, vaccine dose, or time after vaccination across individuals are considerations for interpretation and broad conclusions.” 

They also said the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine far exceeds the risks. 

“I hope this new knowledge will enable further optimizing mRNA vaccines, which, in addition to offering clear health benefits during the pandemic, have a tremendous potential to save lives across numerous future applications,” said Anis Barmada, co-author of the study and student at Yale School of Medicine.

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