A recent news article warns that the COVID-19 variant JN.1 could trigger a “heart failure pandemic,” spurring some social media users to claim the phenomenon is a “coverup” for heart damage caused by COVID-19 vaccines. The article is based on a study that found lasting damage to heart cells exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in a lab and speculated that COVID-19 infections in humans could cause widespread heart failure. Notably, the study never mentions the JN.1 subvariant.
Risk level: High
Recommendation: Myocarditis and other heart-related complications after COVID-19 vaccination are commonly cited by vaccine opponents to discourage vaccination. The widespread nature of these posts elevates the risk. Messaging may emphasize that a COVID-19 infection is much more likely to cause heart problems like myocarditis than a COVID-19 vaccine, and those cases tend to be more severe. Short and long-term heart issues were identified as a complication of COVID-19 infection early in the pandemic, months before the first vaccine was administered. Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines is a safe way to protect against myocarditis.