NEWS & ANALYSIS

The Heart of the Matter - Covid Vaccine Reactions in Younger Patients


As the government analyzes heart inflammation in young people after COVID-19 vaccination, scientists are calling on universities to remove their vaccine mandates, pointing out that the vaccines are potentially harmful and are not universally necessary for students.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion article, University of California-Irvine medical ethicist Aaron Kheriaty and University of Notre Dame law professor Gerard Bradley address the problems with these vaccine mandates, writing, “Schools have for decades required vaccination against infectious diseases, but these mandates are unprecedented—and unethical. Never before have colleges insisted that students or employees receive an experimental vaccine as a condition of attendance or employment.”

The article adds, “The Pfizer vaccine—first in line for approval—requires three weeks before the booster shot, so it would have to be approved by July 28 for students to meet the school’s deadline without making themselves experimental subjects. Pfizer applied to the FDA May 7 for ‘priority review,’ a process that usually takes six months.”

With an infection fatality rate of 0.004% for those under the age of 34, young people are disproportionately safe from COVID-19 while also being disproportionately vulnerable to the vaccines. The professors write, “Early indications from passive surveillance systems (which call for follow-up investigation) and a June 10 review by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee indicated an excess risk for heart inflammation, especially in men 30 and younger.”

According to the CDC, the prevalence of heart inflammation among COVID-19 mRNA vaccine recipients who were 12 to 24 years old was almost three times the high end of the “expected” rate. Just the News reported, “Though they accounted for only 9% of administered mRNA vaccines, 12-24 year-olds represented more than half (277) of myocarditis and pericarditis reports through May 31, according to Tom Shimabukuro of the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Team.”

The risks of COVID-19 vaccines for young people are not yet fully known and are risks that are a consequence of protecting against a virus which almost always exhibits mild effects in young people. Vaccine mandates also assume that there are benefits to the vaccine, when a large portion of Americans have been already infected with the virus and have natural immunity, and they would only be exposing themselves to risks from the vaccines. According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Colleges’ vaccine mandates also ignore the huge number of students—thousands of them at Notre Dame—who have already recovered from Covid infection, and who thus possess natural immunity, which studies have suggested is more robust and durable than vaccine immunity.”

The concern over vaccine mandates has been echoed by the American Medical Association, who recommended in a press release that before mandating COVID vaccinations, the “vaccine receive full approval from the Food and Drug Administration through a Biological Licenses Application.”
According to epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff of Harvard Medical School, “For younger people with a very low risk of COVID mortality, we do not yet know whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Under such circumstances, it is unethical for universities to mandate COVID vaccination. Any subsequently detected problems with a mandated vaccine will erode trust not only in that vaccine but also in other critically important vaccines.”