COVID-19 Vaccination Safe in Patients with Previous Myocarditis, According to New Research

Adults with a history of confirmed acute myocarditis did not experience recurrence or serious adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination in a small study to be presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Acute CardioVascular Care Congress 2022, held March 18-19, 2022.

“These results provide reassuring data that may encourage patients with a history of myocarditis to get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2,” said study author Iyad Abou Saleh, MD, of Hospices Civils de Lyon, France, in an ESC press release. “It should be noted that the majority of patients in our study received the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine and therefore the findings may not apply to other vaccines.”

Rare cases of myocarditis after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination have been reported, however, there are a lack of data regarding the risk for myocarditis recurrence after vaccination in patients with a history of the condition.

“Our experience shows that in some situations patients have avoided vaccination because they, or their GP, were afraid it could cause another bout of myocarditis,” noted Abou Saleh in the release. “We hypothesised that SARS-CoV-2 vaccination would not increase the risk of myocarditis recurrence in patients who had the condition in the past.”

Researchers examined data from 142 patients hospitalized at Hospices Civils de Lyon with a diagnosis of acute myocarditis from January 2016 to June 2021. To assess the safety of COVID-19 vaccination, investigators contacted patients via telephone and asked them to respond to a questionnaire on vaccination status, including which vaccine they received, how many times, and whether they experienced any side effects. Patients were also asked if they currently were infected with COVID-19 or had been in the past.

The average age of patients was 31 years and 20.3% were women. Among respondents, 55 were vaccinated and 16 were not vaccinated, with 12 citing a fear of myocarditis recurrence. Vaccination status was unknown for 66 patients and 5 patients died before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Among vaccinated patients, 12 had 1 dose and 43 had 2 doses. Most patients (n=53, 96.4%) were vaccinated with the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine (Comirnaty®, Pfizer-BioNTech). There were no serious adverse events observed after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, including mortality, arrhythmias, and recurrent myocarditis.

“We showed that SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in patients with a history of acute myocarditis is not associated with a risk of recurrent myocarditis or other serious side effects. Our results should be interpreted with caution due to the small number of patients and the predominant use of one type of vaccine,” concluded Abou Saleh in the release.

The abstract, titled “Safety of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in people with a history of acute myocarditis,” will be available on demand in the e-posters session, according to the ESC press release.