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Israel Examines Heart Inflammation Cases After Pfizer Shot

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 4/26/2021 Alisa Odenheimer
a person in a blue shirt: A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine inside a Covid-19 mass vaccination center at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Monday, Jan. 4, 2020. Israel plans to vaccinate 70% to 80% of its population by April or May, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Monday, pressing ahead with a program that promises an earlier-than-forecast economic recovery. © Bloomberg A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine inside a Covid-19 mass vaccination center at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Monday, Jan. 4, 2020. Israel plans to vaccinate 70% to 80% of its population by April or May, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Monday, pressing ahead with a program that promises an earlier-than-forecast economic recovery.

(Bloomberg) -- Israel is examining dozens of cases where people experienced heart inflammation after receiving Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s coronavirus vaccine.

Health officials are investigating whether the cases are connected with the shot which has been administered to more than 5 million people, Corona Commissioner Nachman Ash said Sunday in an interview with Radio 103FM. The government identified 62 incidents of inflammation of the heart muscle, or heart-muscle membrane, Channel 12 reported last week, citing a health ministry study.

The condition developed in one out of 100,000 people who received the shot, while the incidence rate for men of 18 to 30 years was one in 20,000. Two people died and the rest recovered.

The study doesn’t show with certainty that there’s a higher rate in mortality or an increase in heart muscle inflammation cases, the Health Ministry said in an emailed response to questions.

“It looks like the benefit of the vaccine is so great that even if we do find a connection between some of the cases and the vaccine, it won’t be justified to take any action regarding the vaccine,” Ash said in the interview. The information has been communicated with Pfizer, he said.

Pfizer is aware of the Israeli cases of myocarditis, the company said in a statement.

“We have not observed a higher rate of myocarditis than what would be expected in the general population,” it said. “A causal link to the vaccine has not been established. There is no evidence at this time to conclude that myocarditis is a risk associated” with the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, the company said.

(Updates with Pfizer’s comment from sixth paragraph.)

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