GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A few months ago, we first reported about local teenagers experience a rare heart disease after their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. At that time, only two local teens reported chest pain and were diagnosed with post vaccine myocarditis.
Since then, four more teens have been diagnosed. Dr. Rosemary Olivero worked with these families, and she remembers when the first patient was admitted to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.
"Within a couple days of getting their second vaccine they have come in with your typical vaccine side effects which can include fever, fatigue, achy muscles, and then pain the chest and then one patient actually had some pain that went down their arm," said Olivero, pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.
In total, five boys and one girl had the inflammatory heart disease. Luckily, none of the teens were extremely ill. They were all treated in the hospital with ibuprofen and released.
"They're from all different places, all different school districts, from a pretty large geography so none of them had any you know similarities except you know obviously 5 of them were males, one was a female. But none of them really had any other underlying issues that were similar in between them," said Olivero.
She continued, "They've actually taken it in stride quite a bit and actually all the families that I've encountered, said you know, I wouldn't do anything differently."
For months after, sports and tough physical activities had to be stopped.
"If you're a teen athlete and then you hear I can't exercise for three months, that can be like earth shattering, you know? Some of our earliest teens who even were athletes have actually resumed their athletic careers and they're doing pretty well but they do need to be followed by cardiology again, because we just don't know what that long-term affect might be," said Olivero.
Today, the teens are still being monitored by cardiologists. Although this disease is rare, Dr. Olivero said she understands why these mind of cases leave folks questioning. Her advice, talk to your doctor about your own situation.
"We can help boil down this really confusing information hopefully into actionable information for families. The risk of the vaccine are far fewer than the risks of getting actual natural Covid itself," said Olivero.
The CDC said this disease is so rare it's recorded one in every 100,000 vaccine doses. It is most common in teenage boys. As for myocarditis cases post vaccination in adults 18 and older, Spectrum Health has no recorded cases.