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June 2, 2021

Israel’s health ministry said Tuesday it has observed a small number of heart inflammation cases primarily in young men who received Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in the country, drawing a probable link between the shot and the condition known as myocarditis, however, no direct link has yet been established.


According to Reuters, a study by the Israeli health ministry found a “probable link” between the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and the appearance of myocarditis among men aged between 16 and 30.

The ministry said 275 cases of myocarditis were reported in the country between December 2020 and May 2021 among 5 million vaccinated people.

However, 95% of these heart inflammation cases were mild with most patients spending no more than four days in the hospital.

The health ministry’s study observed that the link presents more among men aged 16 to 19 than in other age groups.

In a statement, Pfizer said it was aware of the findings but noted that a direct link has not yet been established.

56.7%. That’s the total percentage of Israel’s population that has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to Bloomberg’s vaccination tracker. The speedy rollout has led to a sharp decline in both Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the country.

While viral vector vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have seen a bumpy rollout around the world due to safety concerns around them possibly causing blood clots, Pfizer’s mRNA vaccines have not faced any similar concerns. Some concerns over a possible link between mRNA vaccines—made by Pfizer and Moderna—and myocarditis have emerged, however, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) monitoring systems have not found more cases than would be expected in the general population. Despite this, a CDC advisory group last month recommended further study on possible links between mRNA-based shots and myocarditis. The safety committee of the European Medicines Agency is also evaluating reports of myocarditis and pericarditis among individuals who have been inoculated with either the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech shot. The Israeli government had held off on rolling out the vaccines to children aged between 12 to 15 years until the Health Ministry’s study was completed, however, a ministry committee has now approved vaccinations for adolescents, according to a senior official cited by Reuters.

While investigations into the rare occurences continue several agencies have noted that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any probable risk: “The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination enormously outweigh the rare, possible risk of heart-related complications, including inflammation of the heart muscle, or myocarditis. American Heart Association/American Stroke Association...urges all adults and children ages 12 and older in the U.S. to receive a COVID vaccine as soon as they can.”