Health Ministry: No cases of myocarditis, pericarditis detected from mRNA Covid-19 vaccines use locally

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A nurse loads a syringe with a dose Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Kapar, Klang April 28, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
A nurse loads a syringe with a dose Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Kapar, Klang April 28, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — The Ministry of Health said today it has yet to detect local cases of myocarditis or pericarditis following reports that an increasing number of adolescents shot with mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines had developed the two conditions.

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle while pericarditis is inflammation of the lining outside the heart, according to the American-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the world’s leading authorities of infectious diseases.

The ministry said it took note of reports that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been on the rise in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, but gave its assurance that mRNA vaccines are still safe for use and the “benefits far outweigh the risks.”

“The National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency had conducted risk assessments on safety issues based on information obtained from other regulatory agencies and international references,” Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement.

“The MOH would summarise that the safety profiles of the vaccines remain positive and its use for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) will not be affected. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks,” it added.

Public health authorities worldwide are still studying the matter.

In the US, the CDC said the two conditions have been linked to mRNA Covid-19 vaccination such as those found in Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna although it observed no similar pattern after receipt of the Janssen Covid-19 Vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).

The Corminaty, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, is the only mRNA-based vaccine for the National Immunisation Programme, the MOH said.

As of June 13, a total of 2,793,826 Corminaty vaccines have been administered with 1,676,959 people having received their first dose and 1,116,867 for two doses.

The ministry said no cases of myocarditis and pericarditis were registered for the Adverse Events Following Immunisation report.

“MOH also found that no regulatory action has been taken against mRNA-based vaccines by other international organisations like the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and World Health Organisation (WHO),” Dr Noor Hisham said.

“Assessment is still ongoing to determine if there is a link with mRNA vaccines.”

In both conditions, the body’s immune system is causing inflammation in response to an infection or some other trigger.

Symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations.

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