Israel cites ‘possible link’ between Pfizer vaccine, mild heart inflammation in young men

Israel’s Ministry of Health on Wednesday cited a “possible link” between the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and some cases of mild heart inflammation among young men who received the vaccine.

The ministry said in a statement that it concluded “there is some probability for a possible link” between the second dose of the vaccine and the emergence of myocarditis among men aged 16 to 30.

In its research, the Ministry of Health’s three teams of experts found 275 cases of myocarditis reported between December 2020 and May 2021, with 148 cases occurring “around the time of vaccination.”

Mild heart inflammation was reported in 121 cases within 30 days from the second dose’s administration, including 60 among those with preexisting conditions. The 121 cases out of almost 5.1 million vaccinations amounts to 0.002 percent of second doses.

The incidents were mostly reported among younger men aged 16 to 19, with the link weakening among older populations. Most cases, 95 percent, were considered mild, and patients spent up to four days in the hospital.

Pfizer response:  Pfizer told The Hill that it was aware of the Israeli research, noting that adverse incidents are “thoroughly reviewed,” including with the Israeli Ministry of Health.

“No causal link to the vaccine has been established,” the statement said. “With more than 300 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administered globally, the benefit risk profile of our vaccine remains positive.”

Follows: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement last month that it was looking into the “relatively few” cases of myocarditis in young people who got the vaccine.