The Israeli Health Ministry has raised concerns that there could be a link between the Pfizer Covid vaccine and heart complications, particularly among younger men. There are currently 62 recorded cases in Israel of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, which occurred in the days after vaccination. Pfizer responded saying it has not seen similar reports in other countries where the vaccine has been rolled out, though this could be because few other countries have vaccinated as many young people as Israel. The Times of Israel has the story.
Details from an unpublished Israeli Health Ministry report into the side effects of the Pfizer vaccine have raised concerns that there could be a link between the second shot and several dozen cases of myocarditis… particularly in men under 30, Channel 12 reported Friday.
The concerns come from an intermediate report that was presented to ministry heads and to Pfizer in recent weeks, the TV report said. Excerpts from the leaked report stressed that investigators had not conclusively proved a link, but that they had significant concerns.
The report said that out of more than five million people vaccinated in Israel, there were 62 recorded cases of myocarditis in the days after the shot. It found that 56 of those cases came after the second shot and most of the affected were men under 30.
The report said that 60 of the patients were treated and released from hospital in good condition. Two of the patients, who were reportedly healthy until receiving the vaccination, including a 22 year-old woman and a 35 year-old man, died.
“The findings were presented to the Pfizer company who replied that they had not had similar reports in the rest of the world and would examine the data,” an excerpt from the report said, adding that the details had also been sent to the U.S. FDA and CDC, who were also investigating.
The report was authored by senior ministry officials led by Professor Dror Mevorach, head of one of the Covid units at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem.
The authors surmised that “one possible reason for lack of similar findings in other countries was the low rate of vaccinations among young people”.
“There is specific concern regarding the frequency of the occurrence observed in men under 30 in the days immediately after the second shot,” they wrote. “At this stage, according to initial findings that still need to be verified, there is an impression that the number (of cases) is higher than would be expected, especially for those under 30.”
The report found that of those who received the second dose, 1 in 100,000 had possible side effects of myocarditis; however, this number rose to 1 in 20,000 among those aged 16-30.
“We cannot yet tell if there are more cases than normal or if there are similar numbers annually and the proximity is just a coincidence. Efforts to collect more data are continuing,” the report said.
This news comes as the E.U. gets closer to signing off on a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to buy up to 1.8 billion doses of their Covid vaccine. The bloc has come to prefer this vaccine to that produced by AstraZeneca due to a number of factors, some of them political.
The Times of Israel report is worth reading in full.