Despite reports that there are isolated cases of inflammation of the heart muscle in some teens and young adults following the receipt of the vaccine for COVID-19, Utah’s vaccination program is proceeding without any change. In fact, the state is vaccinating more 12-to-15-year-old kids that any other state, according to the Utah Department of Health.
“I haven’t heard any concern from the public regarding this,” Rich Lakin, Utah Department of Health immunization director, told the Deseret News recently. The condition, known as myocarditis, is being investigated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’re vaccinating more 12-to 15-year-olds than any other state. So the demand is there. Last week, it was at about 4 percent for the country, we were at around 9 percent of that age group,” the Deseret News quoted Lakin as saying. Utah, which has the nation’s youngest population, has now fully vaccinated 45.3 percent of residents 12 and older, Lakin told the paper.
The CDC’s Vaccine Safety Advisory Committee said last month there have been reports of myocarditis occurring after vaccination, predominantly in adolescents and young adults. No specifics were given, but the number of cases to date were described as “relatively few.” Most cases appear to be mild, according to the committee, and more often follow the second and final dose of the vaccine, typically within four days and are affecting more males than females.
Utahns 24 and younger account for more than a third of the state’s nearly 405,000 coronavirus cases, but less than 17 of the 2,292 lives lost to the virus, according to health department figures. Health experts have said vaccinating younger residents is key to controlling the deadly disease.
“They help slow the spread. When they’re vaccinated, it helps protect the elderly. It helps protect the immunocompromised,” who can still be vulnerable to the virus even after being vaccinated themselves, Lakin said. “These kids play a big role in the way it spreads.”