Posts claim heart inflammation only occurs after COVID-19 vaccination

A preprint Oxford University study examined outcomes after Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination among children and adolescents in the U.K. The study found that incidents of heart inflammation (myocarditis and pericarditis) were only reported in vaccinated participants, leading vaccine opponents to falsely claim that heart inflammation only occurs after COVID-19 vaccination, not infection. 

Recommendation: False and misleading claims about heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccination have persisted since COVID-19 vaccines were first developed. These false claims may undermine patients’ perception of the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. If directly debunking false claims about this study, doctors and other health care professionals may explain that the study has not been peer-reviewed and has several limitations, including the exclusion of high-risk children and adolescents. Despite claims from vaccine opponents, the study did not compare heart inflammation rates after vaccination with those after infection and did not analyze data that would have allowed any conclusions about heart inflammation risk after COVID-19 infection. Messaging may emphasize that previous research has shown that heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccination is extremely rare, typically mild, and much less common than after COVID-19 infection. The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, because staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines reduces the risk of COVID-19-related heart problems, severe illness, hospitalization, death, and long COVID.