No evidence Covid-19 vaccines causing heart attacks in children

22 July 2022
What was claimed

Many people suddenly have previously rare conditions and children are having heart attacks, with the implication being this is as a result of the Covid-19 vaccines.

Our verdict

This is not true. The Covid-19 vaccines have not been linked to heart attacks in children, and only rarely with other serious side effects.

A Facebook post misleadingly implies that large numbers of people are suddenly suffering from previously rare health problems, and that children are having heart attacks, as a result of the Covid-19 vaccines.

There is no evidence this is true.

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What does the post say?

The post includes a cartoon showing a picture of a doctor with a syringe. Text alongside the image says: “Meet Dr Baffled. Dr Baffled can’t understand why so many people suddenly have ‘rare’ conditions, or why children are having heart attacks. He’s completely baffled.”

A caption with the cartoon says: “Ultimately when all said and done all the wrong doers will have it come back to them. Im just doing my job is no excuse....I just don't know how they sleep at night!!!” [sic].

This seems to imply that medical professionals who deliver the Covid vaccines are doing widespread serious harm to people’s health—which is not true. Most of those commenting on the post seem to have understood it this way, with many making direct references to the Covid vaccines.

Serious Covid vaccine side effects are rare

The Covid vaccines have been monitored for safety by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK. This has identified a number of possible serious side effects, but these are rare or very rare and they do not include heart attacks in children.

Myocarditis and pericarditis, which are different forms of inflammation of the heart, have been identified as a possible side effect of vaccination with the mRNA Covid vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), with 26 cases reported in the UK following vaccination in people under 18 as of 2 March 2022 (although others may have occurred without being reported).

However, myocarditis and pericarditis are not “heart attacks”, and few cases following vaccination so far have been severe. As the MHRA says: “Most of these cases are mild and recover in a short time period with standard treatment.”

Overall, the MHRA says: “​​The expected benefits of the vaccines in preventing COVID-19 and serious complications associated with COVID-19 far outweigh any currently known side effects.”

The British Heart Foundation says there is no evidence that people are at risk of cardiac arrest in the days or weeks following the vaccine.

It adds: “In the UK, no figures have been published for cardiac arrests in under-18s following the vaccine – which means there have been a tiny number too small to be published, or none at all.”

Image courtesy of Mat Napo

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