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CDC to hold emergency meeting after vaccine concerns

226 people, mainly young men, showed signs of heart inflammation after being vaccinated.

SAN ANTONIO — The Centers for Disease Control has called an emergency meeting after discovering 226 cases of post-COVID-19-vaccine heart inflammation, mainly affecting teenage boys and young men.

The cases of heart inflammation happened after those people received their second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Because the number of cases is extremely small, health officials are still recommending that everyone still get both doses.

"It was like the flu. Like so sore, and I was switching between sweating and getting chills," said Elliot Nowak, who is 13 and got his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday. 

His mother, Carolyn, said she isn't concerned about the latest developments with heart inflammation. 

"The risk of of any other long-term side effects from getting COVID-19 are drastically higher than the couple of hundred people (who have), unfortunately, had this side effect to the vaccine," she said. 

"I think that is a good point to emphasize that they haven't made any changes in the recommendations," said Dr. Jason Bowling, an associate professor of infectious diseases with UT Health San Antonio. "This is a very rare number and the few people that have had it. Obviously, if people have chest pain after that, it's generally within a week after that second dose, they should talk with their doctor about it."

Out of the 226 cases the CDC is working, three remain in intensive care, 15 are hospitalized, 41 have ongoing symptoms and 167 have fully recovered. 

Bowling says don't let these small numbers keep you or your children from getting a vaccine, especially because of the variants which have prolonged the pandemic. 

"What we're seeing is that people that don't get their second dose may be at risk for some of these variants that are circulating," he said. "Getting a vaccine and getting both doses is really important to get that full protection." 

"When you're looking at millions of people who are getting this vaccine and a couple of hundred people getting a side effect, there are going to be side effects to just about anything that you do," Carolyn Nowak added. 

The CDC plans to hold its emergency meeting on June 18.