NMDOH: 8 New Mexicans had cardiac issues following COVID-19 vaccine

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 177 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

More than a thousand of them developed myocarditis or pericarditis — rare heart conditions.

“That’s (myocarditis) inflammation of the heart muscle or (pericarditis) inflammation of the sac around the heart that holds a little bit of fluid to help lubricate,” said Dr. Jeff Salvon-Harman, the chief patient safety officer for Presbyterian Healthcare Services.

He said the rare heart inflammation can cause mild symptoms but could still send people to the hospital, so people should look out for: chest pain in the heart area, shortness of breath, racing of the heart or irregular heartbeat. Anyone experiencing those symptoms without any other health explanation should visit their doctor, or an emergency room if the symptoms worsen.

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) shared the latest data regarding the condition. According to its records, at least eight people had cardiac issues following a Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. No one died.

But six of the eight had myocarditis, pericarditis or both. The ages ranged from 14 up to 46 in those cases. The data did not show if they were female or male, but the CDC reports the majority of cases in the country are the latter.

Dr. Salvon-Harman said most cases surface following the second dose. He said most symptoms last for about 10 days. Treatment can help speed up recovery time, but some cases resolve on their own.

However, he doesn’t want the concerns of getting myocarditis or pericarditis to keep people receiving their COVID-19 shots.

“To me, that is a far greater risk to the well-being of the majority of New Mexicans than this very slight risk for s subset of those who get vaccinated,” Dr. Salvon-Harman said.