Singapore – According to the expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination in Singapore, there is a “very small risk” of heart inflammation after receiving the second dose of an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine; however, the “benefits continue to outweigh the risks.”
The expert committee is closely monitoring international reports regarding the second dose of an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine being associated with a small risk of myocarditis and pericarditis in young men, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a media release on Friday (Jun 11).
Myocarditis and pericarditis are inflammatory conditions affecting the heart muscles and the outer lining of the heart, respectively.
They occur more often in men compared to women. Patients have shown symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or abnormal heartbeats, said MOH.
Although most cases are mild, with patients recovering without the need for significant intervention and do not suffer long-term effects, “very rarely severe cases may result in damage to the heart.”
Increased occurrences of myocarditis and pericarditis after the second dose of mRNA Covid-19 vaccinations have been observed overseas in Israel and the United States (US) in young men below the age of 25 years.
The risk of this has been estimated to be 1.6 cases per 100,000 doses for mRNA vaccines in the US, which is comparable to the risk of anaphylaxis observed in Singapore.
Locally, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has reported four cases involving young men aged between 18 to 30 years.
MOH noted that the incidents occurred at the upper end of the expected range for the age group. Most of the cases were reported within a few days after receiving the second dose of the vaccine.
All of the men have recovered or been discharged well from the hospital.
Myocarditis and pericarditis are separate and distinct conditions from heart attacks caused when blood flow to the heart is blocked.
“We have reviewed the currently available international and local data,” said MOH.
“Our assessment is that the benefits of receiving the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, i.e., reduction in Covid-19 infections and severe complications even if infected, continue to outweigh the risks of vaccination.”
As a precaution, adolescents and younger men, in particular, should avoid strenuous physical activity for one week after their second dose.
“During this time, they should seek medical attention promptly if they develop chest pain, shortness of breath, or abnormal heartbeats,” advised the expert committee./TISG
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