Moderna COVID-19 vaccine vials. (Photo courtesy of the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit)Moderna COVID-19 vaccine vials. (Photo courtesy of the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit)

Study on heart side effects could improve confidence in COVID-19 vaccines

The federal government is funding a new study looking at the outcomes of patients who suffered heart problems after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Myocarditis and pericarditis occur rarely following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination," said project scientific lead Doctor Nathaniel Hawkins. "Most people recover quickly and well, but the long-term health effects of these heart conditions are unknown."

Canada's Deputy Chief Public Health Officer and Interim Vice-President of the Infectious Diseases Programs Branch, Doctor Howard Njoo, announced $1.6-million in funding to help researchers understand the long-term effects.

The money will go to the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. It represents more than 2,300 cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and other health specialists across the country.

The society will collaborate with researchers, public health officials, and patients across Canada. Those who experienced post-mRNA myocarditis and pericarditis would be asked to participate in the study.

Information collected from the study could improve vaccine confidence, especially among young adults, children, and their parents.

"This is an important way to equip Canadians with additional information so that they can make informed decisions to protect themselves and have the confidence in doing so," said Njoo.

Myocarditis occurs when the heart muscle becomes inflamed, while pericarditis is the inflammation of the lining surrounding the heart. Symptoms can include pain in the chest and rapid or irregular heartbeat. There are many causes, including COVID-19.

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