The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that it will convene an "emergency meeting" of its advisers on June 18th to discuss rare but higher-than-expected reports of heart inflammation following doses of the mRNA-based Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
So far, the CDC has identified 226 reports that might meet the agency's "working case definition" of myocarditis and pericarditis following the shots, the agency disclosed Thursday. The vast majority have recovered, but 41 had ongoing symptoms, 15 are still hospitalized, and 3 are in the intensive care unit.
The reports represent just a tiny fraction of the nearly 130 million Americans who have been fully vaccinated with either Pfizer or Moderna's doses.
"It's a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison because, again, these are preliminary reports. Not all these will turn out to be true myocarditis or pericarditis reports," cautioned Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, a CDC vaccine safety official.
Shimabukuro said their findings were mostly "consistent" with reports of rare cases of heart inflammation that had been studied in Israel and reported from the U.S. Department of Defense earlier this year.