SEATTLE — Myocarditis is commonly cited as a factor in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. But should it be? Let's verify.
Our sources are the two major studies on the issue – one out of Israel and one by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – and Dr. Gautam Velamoor, the section head of cardiac surgery at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.
Velamoor describes myocarditis as "inflammation in your heart muscle that can range in symptoms from being very mild to more serious, requiring hospitalization for heart failure and in worst cases even death."
In general, your odds of getting it are slim – about 10 to 20 in 100,000. But once you have COVID, the CDC study proved it’s astronomically higher. The incidence of myocarditis in patients who have had COVID-19 is 16 times higher than it is in the regular population.
In fact, the study from Israel is often falsely used as proof that the vaccine can give you myocarditis. What the study actually showed is that the incidence rate of myocarditis among vaccinated people was only 2.13 per 100,000 – about eight times lower than the average incident rate.
It did reveal that men 16 to 29 years old were the most likely to get myocarditis after being vaccinated. Doctors still don’t know why that is, but even then, 98% of the cases were either mild or intermediate.
Velamoor summarized it simply, saying, "What I would tell you is myocarditis, when it occurs, is typically mild. It's got a much higher incidence in patients who have COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated. And fear of myocarditis should not dissuade anybody from getting the vaccine."
We can verify that having COVID-19 makes you 16 times more likely to get myocarditis, but getting the COVID vaccine does not.