Study flags small seizure risk from pediatric COVID-19 vaccines

A new study flagged two potential safety concerns associated with pediatric monovalent COVID-19 vaccines: heart inflammation myocarditis after Pfizer vaccination in adolescents aged 12 to 17, and seizure after Pfizer vaccination in children aged 2 to 4 and after Moderna vaccination in children aged 2 to 5. Vaccine opponents have been using the results to question continuing to recommend the vaccines for children. 

Recommendation: Posts about this study cherry-pick data to undermine the public’s perception of the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. The study flagged the potential safety signal for seizures after vaccination in young children after 72 cases were identified out of 4 million children. More than 70 percent of the seizures were caused by fever, which is relatively common in otherwise healthy young children and typically mild. The seizures all occurred within a week of vaccination, with a median time between vaccination and seizure of two days. The study concluded that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children and encouraged caution when interpreting results, noting that “the analysis may have identified febrile seizures unrelated to the vaccination.” When addressing patient concerns about seizures after vaccination, messaging may emphasize that seizures caused by fever are most common in infants and young children with viral infections like COVID-19.  Key talking points about myocarditis may emphasize that cases of myocarditis after vaccination are extremely rare and typically mild, that large-scale, credible, peer-reviewed studies consistently show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and that myocarditis is far more common after COVID-19 infection than vaccination. The CDC recommends the updated COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 6 months and older because staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines prevents hospitalization, death, long COVID, and fever or heart problems caused by a COVID-19 infection.