FACT CHECK: Study showing rates of heart inflammation after COVID vaccine pulled for bad math

Experts say the risk of heart inflammation is higher after COVID-19 infection than vaccination.
Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 9:08 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2021 at 9:15 AM CDT
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(KWQC) - A pre-print study from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute showing a rate of 1 out of 1,000 people developed heart inflammation, or myocarditis, after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine has been pulled after researchers used wrong data to calculate the incidence.

In a statement from the university, the study was pulled at the authors’ request.

The study had calculated the incidence of myocarditis in the Ottawa region using the number of heart inflammation cases divided by the number of vaccines administered during a two-month period.

The problem? Researchers say they used the wrong denominator. The study noted the number of vaccines administered was 32,379, however, 845,930 vaccines were given during that period, according to the Ottawa Public Health.

According to Reuters, the study was originally published on the platform MedRxiv on Sept. 16, and quickly made its rounds across social media pages and blogs as proof the vaccines are not safe.

The study was then retracted by its authors on Sept. 24.

A statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada reads in part, “It is also important to consider that the risk of cardiac complications, including myocarditis, has been shown to be substantially increased following SARS-CoV-2 infection, and that it is higher following infection than after vaccination.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the organization is monitoring reports of myocarditis and pericarditis after vaccination. The CDC says cases of heart inflammation have been reported after mRNA vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), more commonly in males and younger people, most often after the second dose, and typically within several days of vaccination. The CDC says if you develop any of the side effects, like chest pain, shortness of breath, or “Feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart,” you should contact your doctor.

The CDC says most of the people who developed this condition responded well to treatment and were able to get back to their daily activities after symptoms improve.

Furthermore, new research published Monday in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal shows fifteen people out of over two million who received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine developed myocarditis. According to the study, none of the patients who developed the heart condition required intensive care unit admission or readmission after being discharged.

The CDC says the “known risks of COVID-19 illness and its related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death, far outweigh the potential risks of having a rare adverse reaction to vaccination, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis.”

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