Emergency calls for cardiac arrest and acute coronary syndrome in young people in Israel were significantly associated with the vaccine rollout, both first and second doses, spiking 25% higher than in earlier years, but not with COVID-19 prevalence, a study in the Nature journal Scientific Reports has found.
Using data from the Israel National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) from 2019 to 2021, the study looked at the volume of cardiac arrest and acute coronary syndrome EMS calls in the 16-39 year-old population. It found an increase of over 25% in both call types during January-May 2021, compared with 2019-2020, but no significant increase in calls correlating with COVID-19 infection rates.
The main finding of this study concerns with increases of over 25% in both the number of CA [cardiac arrest] calls and ACS [acute coronary syndrome] calls of people in the 16-39 age group during the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Israel (January-May, 2021), compared with the same period of time in prior years (2019 and 2020). Moreover, there is a robust and statistically significant association between the weekly CA and ACS call counts, and the rates of first and second vaccine doses administered to this age group. At the same time there is no observed statistically significant association between COVID-19 infection rates and the CA and ACS call counts. This result is aligned with previous findings which show increases in overall CA incidence were not always associated with higher COVID-19 infections rates at a population level, as well as the stability of hospitalisation rates related to myocardial infarction throughout the initial COVID-19 wave compared to pre-pandemic baselines in Israel. These results also are mirrored by a report of increased emergency department visits with cardiovascular complaints during the vaccination rollout in Germany as well as increased EMS calls for cardiac incidents in Scotland.
While several studies have found severe myocarditis to be a rare adverse effect of the vaccines, the study authors note that myocarditis is often missed, and in fact has been found to be likely responsible for 12-20% of unexpected deaths in adults under 40 in normal times.