An article discussing a former New York City firefighter’s alleged vaccine “injury” is circulating on social media. The former firefighter claims he was forced to retire on half of his salary due to permanent heart damage caused by the city-mandated COVID-19 vaccine. He also claimed to experience an immediate allergic reaction after receiving the vaccine in October 2021 and connected the COVID-19 vaccine to his subsequent diagnosis of myocarditis. The union representing New York City firefighters considers his injury “totally avoidable,” and the veteran firefighter has filed a lawsuit against the Fire Department of New York. Social media users are expressing support for the former firefighter.
Risk level: Medium
Recommendation: Myocarditis after vaccination is commonly cited by vaccine opponents to oppose vaccination, and the public is often confused about when myocarditis may occur and why. Social media posts and new coverage of this lawsuit may promote vaccine hesitancy among New York patients, and doctors may face questions about the risk of myocarditis from the updated COVID-19 vaccine. Talking points may emphasize that cases of post-vaccine myocarditis are extremely rare and usually mild. A COVID-19 infection is more likely to cause myocarditis than a COVID-19 vaccine, and those cases are typically more severe. This is even true among young men, who are most likely to experience myocarditis from vaccines.