Pfizer Covid vaccine: The serious side effect seen ‘more often’ after second dose – CDC

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Cases of coronavirus are heading in the wrong direction in the UK, with the latest daily figures approaching 100,000. This concerning trend has intensified calls for those eligible to get their booster Covid jab, which is being offered to various at-risk groups to top up their immunity levels ahead of winter. The two booster jabs being administered are the Pfizer and Moderna jab.

The mRNA-based vaccines have proven to be overwhelmingly safe but a rare complication has been associated with them.

Cases of myocarditis have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

VAERS is a national early warning system to detect possible safety problems in US-licensed vaccines.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium). The inflammation can reduce your heart’s ability to pump and cause rapid or abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

Cases of myocarditis have been reported especially in male adolescents and young adults are receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, notes the CDC.

The rare complication is “more often” after the second dose and usually within several days after vaccination, says the health body.

Signs of myocarditis include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart.

Most patients with myocarditis who received care “responded well to medicine and rest and felt better quickly”, notes the CDC.

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Nonetheless, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is actively reviewing this side effect before giving Moderna emergency authorisation for kids aged 12 to 17 to receive the jab, Moderna announced on Sunday.

The FDA said it needs more time to review whether there is risk of myocarditis for some teenagers.

The safety of vaccine recipients is of paramount importance,” a statement from Moderna said.

“The company is fully committed to working closely with the FDA to support their review and is grateful to the FDA for their diligence.”

The FDA’s review of additional studies may not be complete before the end of the year, the agency told Moderna.

How many booster shots have been administered so far in the UK?

Over eight million eligible people across the UK have now received a COVID-19 booster shot.

More than 820,000 boosters have been administered in the last three days.

Monday’s figures follow hundreds of thousands of vaccinations over the weekend, with more than 820,000 administered since Friday.

People who are eligible are also able to get a booster at hundreds of walk-in sites across the country from today, as long as it’s been six months since their second dose.

High-risk groups include people over the age of 50 and people who live and work in care homes.

Last week, clinical guidance was updated to allow COVID-19 boosters to be given earlier to those at highest risk, where this makes operational sense to do so.

This includes care home residents who may have received their second doses at different times to be vaccinated in the same session, as long as it has been five months since their second dose.

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