Vaccines are safe for children, and there is no medical proof they can cause heart attacks in any age group.
In June 2022, COVID-19 vaccination for children at least six months old was approved in the United Kingdom. Ever since, misinformation and false claims regarding the effects of these vaccines on children have been viral on social media. One such post implied that children get heart attacks after being vaccinated against COVID-19. The post includes an image of a cartoon character dressed as a doctor with a syringe in one hand and can be seen accepting money from the other hand. The description reads, "Dr. Baffled can't understand why so many people suddenly have rare conditions or why children have heart attacks." Numerous users commenting on the post have related it to the COVID-19 vaccine being administered to children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) other credible medical and health agencies have released statements regarding the efficacy, and safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
On August 4, 2022, a report by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on a summary of Yellow Card reporting on COVID-19 vaccines stated that "there has been a small number of reports for myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart) in individuals under 18 years both in the U.K. and internationally." According to U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) myocarditis and pericarditis are both inflammatory heart conditions. Further, most cases are mild and are often not well investigated, giving less understanding of the incidence. Also, they clarify that myocarditis cases are mild and one can recover in a short period with standard treatment.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) published a report in April 2022 on COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis, noting," The risk of getting myocarditis or pericarditis after vaccination is very low." BHF found that in the U.K., "no figures have been published for cardiac arrests," for those who were under 18 years of age and were vaccinated against COVID-19. This can also be understood as "there have been a tiny number too small to be published, or none at all."
Heart attacks are not similar to myocarditis and pericarditis. According to Mayo Clinic, a heart attack is a potential complication of myocarditis. Severe myocarditis weakens the heart, leaving a reduction in blood flow to all parts of the body. This condition can form clots in the heart, leading to strokes or heart attacks.
One comment on the Facebook post also shows purported data on COVID-19 deaths from vaccination from the COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report from Week 13, 2022. The graph depicts deaths among the vaccinated were higher than the non-vaccinated in England. However, providing only the statistics of a report and questioning the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines would be a gross misrepresentation of the information. Full Fact and other independent fact-checkers have debunked similar misrepresentations propagated using the recent data released by the U.K.'s Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Research on the report mentioned in the graph revealed that the numbers quoted were from a surveillance report referring to the table "Death within 60 days of positive COVID-19 test by date of Death between week 9 2022 (w/e March 6, 2022) and week 12 2022 (w/e March 27, 2022)."
The U.K. government records show that the percentage of the population vaccinated, as of August 3, 2022, among the age 12 years and above is 93.4 percent (one dose), 87.8 percent for the second dose, and 69.9 percent for booster or third dose. The weekly report clarifies it is expected that the number of cases recorded hospitalizations and deaths would occur in vaccinated individuals because a more significant proportion of the population is vaccinated than unvaccinated. Also, the people with severe risks have been prioritized. It is also worth noting that vaccines are used as a preventative measure against COVID-19, thereby reducing the chances of severe COVID-19 infection requiring hospitalization and can even prevent death.
MHRA remarks the benefits of the vaccine "outweigh any currently known side effects in the majority of patients."
Logically has previously debunked claims implying vaccines are ineffective and narratives about an increased risk of a heart attack and other ailments after vaccination. Logically found that many reports have omitted context and misinterpreted data to instill fear and promote vaccine hesitancy.
There are no conclusive pieces of medical evidence showing that children are at advanced risk of heart attacks post COVID-19 vaccination. Hence, we have marked this claim false.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.