FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
The following statement has been co-signed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American College of Physicians (ACP), American Heart Association, American Hospital Association (AHA), American Medical Association (AMA), American Nurses Association (ANA), American Public Health Association (APHA), and Infectious Diseases Society of America:
“As physicians, nurses, public health and health care professionals, and, for many of us, parents, we understand the significant interest many Americans have in the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, especially for younger people. Today, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met to discuss the latest data on reports of mild cases of inflammation of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue called myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination among younger people.
“The facts are clear: this is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination. Importantly, for the young people who do, most cases are mild, and individuals recover often on their own or with minimal treatment. In addition, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe.
“The vaccines are safe and effective, and they prevent COVID-19 illness. They will help protect you and your family and keep your community safe. We strongly encourage everyone age 12 and older who are eligible to receive the vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization to get vaccinated, as the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any harm. Especially with the troubling Delta variant increasingly circulating, and more readily impacting younger people, the risks of being unvaccinated are far greater than any rare side effects from the vaccines. If you get COVID-19, you could get severely ill and be hospitalized or even die. Even if your infection is mild, you or your child could face long-term symptoms following COVID-19 infection such as neurological problems or diminished lung function.
“We recommend getting vaccinated right away if you haven’t yet. It is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, your community, and to return to a more normal lifestyle safely and quickly.”
Dr. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Ada Stewart, MD, FAAFP, President, American Academy of Family Physicians
Dr. Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
Dr. Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, FACOG, Chief Executive Officer, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Dr. George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, President, American College of Physicians Dr. Mitchell S. V. Elkind, M.D., M.S., FAAN, FAHA, President, American Heart Association
Richard J. Pollack, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Hospital Association
Dr. Gerald E. Harmon, M.D., President, American Medical Association
Dr. Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, President, American Nurses Association
Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association
Dr. Barbara D. Alexander, MD, MHS, FIDSA, President, Infectious Diseases Society of America
For more information and resources on this rare side effect, visit CDC’s website here.
About American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the specialty of family medicine and the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, visit www.aafp.org. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.