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Health officials are investigating a possible link between mild heart issues in teens and young adults and the COVID-19 vaccine.

While that sounds scary, mama, experts say there's no need to panic.

Here's what we know about this evolving situation:


Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was looking into "relatively few reports" of myocarditis in vaccinated teenagers and young adults. While the CDC didn't specify how many cases were reported, NBC News has identified at least 55 suspected cases in America.

"In recent weeks, there have been rare reports of myocarditis and pericarditis occurring after COVID-19 vaccination in the United States and Europe," the CDC said in a statement. "Reported cases appear to be mild and often go away without requiring treatment."

Officials also said that it appears to be occurring more frequently in males than females, and symptoms typically appear within four days of receiving the second shot of the vaccine.

What is myocarditis?

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart's tissue that can affect your heart's ability to efficiently pump blood, according to the Mayo Clinic.

It can be caused by a viral infection, be part of a more general inflammatory condition, or be a reaction to a drug. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, fluid retention with the swelling of your legs, ankles and feet, and rapid or abnormal heart rhythms.

Is there a link between myocarditis and the COVID-19 vaccine?

Experts say there's just not enough information to link the two. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Laurel Bristow says that the reported cases of myocarditis could have been caused by a variety of illnesses—even COVID-19.

"It's possible that it's just coincidental," she explained in a series of videos on Instagram. "It could be something like an enterovirus, which actually picks up in the summer months anyways. Or it could be something like really unfortunate timing, like people getting COVID right before they get their vaccination. We have seen Myocarditis be triggered by COVID infections themselves."

"It's happening in older adolescents and young adults which is making me wonder if it isn't some other virus that kids who are back in in-person schooling are being exposed to, now that masks are coming off more often. We just don't know."

"And this is why it's important to get the word out to encourage providers to report any of these cases so we get more data points, so we can have a clearer picture of what's actually happening," she added.

Should children still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, according to the American Heart Association. The group released a statement, saying that the benefits of the vaccine greatly outweigh the potential risk of developing myocarditis.

"The few cases of myocarditis that have been reported after COVID-19 vaccination are being investigated. However, myocarditis is usually the result of a viral infection, and it is yet to be determined if these cases have any correlation to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, especially since the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. do not contain any live virus."

"We remain confident that the benefits of vaccination far exceed the very small, rare risks. The risks of vaccination are also far smaller than the risks of COVID-19 infection itself, including its potentially fatal consequences and the potential long-term health effects that are still revealing themselves, including myocarditis."

My child is about to get their second vaccine. What should I do?

Experts say if your child develops any symptoms of myocarditis, it's important to let your pediatrician know. They can evaluate your child and determine if they need any additional care.

It's important that doctors continue reporting any suspected cases, so health officials can gather more data.

The bottom line: try not to panic. It's important to be aware of what's going on so you can keep an eye on your child. Contact your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.

You got this, mama.

Jamie Orsini is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, military spouse, and a mom to two busy toddlers. In her spare time, Jamie volunteers with the Solar System Ambassador program with NASA/JPL and reads anything she can get her hands on. She’s currently working on her first novel.

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