According to Reuters, Israel's Health Ministry released a statement Tuesday describing how Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE's COVID-19 vaccine could be linked to dozens of heart inflammation cases, mainly observed in younger men.
So far, the vaccine has been administered to 5 million people in the country and could soon be expanded to teens as young as 12-15 years old.
The ministry's findings found 275 cases of myocarditis between December 2020 and May 2021, including 148 cases within a month after the first vaccination. Of these, 27 cases after the first dose and 121 after the second. Half of the people had previous medical conditions.
According to the findings, most patients who experienced heart inflammation spent less than four days in the hospital, and 95% of the cases were classified as mild.
The study found "there is a probable link between receiving the second dose (of Pfizer) vaccine and the appearance of myocarditis among men aged 16 to 30."
Pfizer said in a statement that it had reviewed the Israeli observations of myocarditis, noting that no link to its vaccine has been confirmed.
"A careful assessment of the reports is ongoing and it has not been concluded," Pfizer said. "Adverse events, including myocarditis and pericarditis, are being regularly and thoroughly reviewed by the companies as well as by regulatory authorities."
Meanwhile, Nachman Ash, Israel's pandemic-response coordinator, told local radio station Radio 103 FM, "the health committee gave the green light for vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds, and this will be possible as of next week."
An advisory group with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last month further examination into the possible link between myocarditis and mRNA vaccines.
The handful of myocarditis cases seem to outweigh the positives as more than 55% of Israel's population has already been vaccinated.
While the country continues a vaccination spree, what's not being widely spoken about is a new study that suggests natural immunity to the virus could last a lifetime.