© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Vial labeled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and a syringe appear in front of the Pfizer logo in this image
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli Ministry of Health said Sunday it is investigating a small number of cases of heart infections in people who have received it Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 & # 39; s COVID-19 vaccine, although no conclusions have been drawn yet.
Pfizer said it had not seen a higher rate of the disease than would normally be expected in the general population.
Israel's pandemic response coordinator Nachman Ash said a preliminary study showed "dozen cases" of myocarditis in more than 5 million people vaccinated, mostly after the second dose.
Ash said it was unclear if this was abnormally high and if it was related to the vaccine.
Most of the cases were reported in people up to 30 years of age.
"The Department of Health is currently looking into whether there is an excess of morbidity (disease rate) and whether this is due to the vaccines," said Ash.
Ash, who spoke about the issue in a radio interview and during a press conference, described it as a "question mark" and stressed that the Department of Health was not yet to draw conclusions.
Establishing a link is difficult because myocarditis, a disease that often goes away without complications, can be caused by a variety of viruses and a similar number of cases have been reported in recent years.
Pfizer, who was asked about the review by Reuters, said he was in regular contact with the Israeli Ministry of Health to review data on his vaccine.
The company said it was "known for Israeli observations of myocarditis, which occurred predominantly in a population of young men who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine."
"Adverse events are monitored regularly and thoroughly, and we have not observed any higher rates of myocarditis than would be expected in the general population. A causal relationship with the vaccine has not been established," the company said.
"There is currently no evidence that myocarditis is a risk associated with the use of the Pfizer / BNT COVID-19 vaccine."
Israel has been a world leader in introducing vaccination. Nearly 60% of the 9.3 million population received the Pfizer vaccine. The nationwide database has already shown that the vaccine is highly effective in preventing the symptoms and serious illnesses associated with COVID-19.
Since January, shortly after the vaccination campaign began, daily infections fell from a high of more than 10,000 to just 129 before the weekend.
Nadav Davidovitch, director of the School of Public Health at Ben Gurion University in Israel, said that even if a correlation was found between the myocarditis cases and the vaccine, it did not seem serious enough to stop vaccine administration .
"It is a situation that should be investigated and we have to wait for a final report, but on an interim analysis, the risk of developing COVID-19 appears to be much higher than the vaccine adverse events and peri risk / Post-vaccine myocarditis is minor and temporary, "he said.