BACK

Are unvaccinated people not getting ailments such as myocarditis, pericarditis, blood clots, strokes or heart attacks?

Are unvaccinated people not getting ailments such as myocarditis, pericarditis, blood clots, strokes or heart attacks?

This article was published on
November 30, 2021

This explainer is more than 90 days old. Some of the information might be out of date or no longer relevant. Browse our homepage for up to date content or request information about a specific topic from our team of scientists.

This article has been translated from its original language. Please reach out if you have any feedback on the translation.

People who have not been vaccinated are still being impacted with heart issues such as myocarditis, pericarditis, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and other ailments just as they were before the pandemic began. However, COVID-19 increases the risk of blood clots and many other health issues dramatically. People who have not been vaccinated against the virus face much higher risks of severe symptoms from an infection than those who have been fully vaccinated.

People who have not been vaccinated are still being impacted with heart issues such as myocarditis, pericarditis, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and other ailments just as they were before the pandemic began. However, COVID-19 increases the risk of blood clots and many other health issues dramatically. People who have not been vaccinated against the virus face much higher risks of severe symptoms from an infection than those who have been fully vaccinated.

Publication

What our experts say

People who have not been vaccinated are still being impacted with heart issues such as myocarditis, pericarditis, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and other ailments just as they were before the pandemic began.

However, COVID-19 increases the risk of blood clots and many other health issues dramatically. People who have not been vaccinated against the virus face much higher risks of severe symptoms from an infection than those who have been fully vaccinated.

Simply put, being unvaccinated greatly increases your risk of acquiring the virus and severe symptoms caused by it, hospitalization, and even death.

For instance, a recent study found that people who suffered blood clots after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were much fewer in number than the people infected with COVID-19. 66 people out of roughly 10 million who received the first jab of the vaccine were found to be at risk for blood clots in the veins. In comparison, 12,614 people out of 10 million reported blood clots in the group who tested positive for the virus.

It should be noted that there have been a small amount of people who reported symptoms of myocarditis, pericarditis, and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Evidence has reportedly shown that the majority of these cases have been easily treated and that these conditions occur much more frequently in people who have been infected with the virus. One recent study in the United States noted that from March 2020 through January 2021, patients with COVID-19 had almost 16 times the risk for myocarditis compared with patients who were not infected, and risk varied by sex and age.

Another recent study found that myocarditis was more common after a COVID-19 infection than after a full COVID-19 vaccine course and noted that up to 28% of hospitalized patients with the virus showed clinical signs of myocardial injury

Heart issues caused by the virus are almost always more severe and cause worse health outcomes in people with infections as opposed to those who received the vaccines. This is likely due to their heart being damaged directly by the virus and causing inflammation or potentially the effect of inflammatory proteins being released into the blood.

Further, COVID-19 is closely associated with an increased risk in blood clots and inflammation in the vascular lining, especially in the heart and lungs. This can lead to poor oxygen levels and delivery to organs and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Even without the risk of COVID-19 or related vaccines, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, representing 32% of all deaths. Three-quarters of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries where a majority of people have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, clearly demonstrating that unvaccinated people were experiencing cardiac issues before and during the pandemic. 25% of all people around the world are dying from conditions linked to thrombosis (blood clots). Given that COVID-19 causes significantly more blood clots in infected patients than the vaccine may, the unvaccinated are at a significantly greater risk than the vaccinated population.

People who have not been vaccinated are still being impacted with heart issues such as myocarditis, pericarditis, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, and other ailments just as they were before the pandemic began.

However, COVID-19 increases the risk of blood clots and many other health issues dramatically. People who have not been vaccinated against the virus face much higher risks of severe symptoms from an infection than those who have been fully vaccinated.

Simply put, being unvaccinated greatly increases your risk of acquiring the virus and severe symptoms caused by it, hospitalization, and even death.

For instance, a recent study found that people who suffered blood clots after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were much fewer in number than the people infected with COVID-19. 66 people out of roughly 10 million who received the first jab of the vaccine were found to be at risk for blood clots in the veins. In comparison, 12,614 people out of 10 million reported blood clots in the group who tested positive for the virus.

It should be noted that there have been a small amount of people who reported symptoms of myocarditis, pericarditis, and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Evidence has reportedly shown that the majority of these cases have been easily treated and that these conditions occur much more frequently in people who have been infected with the virus. One recent study in the United States noted that from March 2020 through January 2021, patients with COVID-19 had almost 16 times the risk for myocarditis compared with patients who were not infected, and risk varied by sex and age.

Another recent study found that myocarditis was more common after a COVID-19 infection than after a full COVID-19 vaccine course and noted that up to 28% of hospitalized patients with the virus showed clinical signs of myocardial injury

Heart issues caused by the virus are almost always more severe and cause worse health outcomes in people with infections as opposed to those who received the vaccines. This is likely due to their heart being damaged directly by the virus and causing inflammation or potentially the effect of inflammatory proteins being released into the blood.

Further, COVID-19 is closely associated with an increased risk in blood clots and inflammation in the vascular lining, especially in the heart and lungs. This can lead to poor oxygen levels and delivery to organs and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Even without the risk of COVID-19 or related vaccines, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, representing 32% of all deaths. Three-quarters of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries where a majority of people have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, clearly demonstrating that unvaccinated people were experiencing cardiac issues before and during the pandemic. 25% of all people around the world are dying from conditions linked to thrombosis (blood clots). Given that COVID-19 causes significantly more blood clots in infected patients than the vaccine may, the unvaccinated are at a significantly greater risk than the vaccinated population.

Context and background

Some people, particularly in the U.S., have speculated on social media that the Omicron variant is serving as a cover-up for the vaccines causing heart-related issues. Some of these posts also claim that unvaccinated people are not experiencing illnesses like heart attacks or myocarditis during the pandemic whereas vaccinated people are and at a much higher levels.

The Omicron variant was first identified by the nation of South Africa in November of 2021. After scientists there sequenced the genetic material of virus samples, they alerted the general public internationally due to the number of mutations the virus has and the likelihood that it could be highly transmissible. The World Health Organization then labeled the Omicron a "variant of concern" but noted that we need more information about the omicron before we understand how it works.

Given that the Omicron was first identified outside of the U.S. and the fact that people infected with COVID-19 have a much higher risk of virus-related heart issues, the idea that this variant is a cover-up is inaccurate. Unvaccinated and vaccinated people are still facing the daily risk of heart disease and blood clots they did before the pandemic started, but due to the virus, the unvaccinated are much more likely to develop severe COVID-19 infections and symptoms like blood clots, myocarditis, and stroke than those who have received the jabs.

Some people, particularly in the U.S., have speculated on social media that the Omicron variant is serving as a cover-up for the vaccines causing heart-related issues. Some of these posts also claim that unvaccinated people are not experiencing illnesses like heart attacks or myocarditis during the pandemic whereas vaccinated people are and at a much higher levels.

The Omicron variant was first identified by the nation of South Africa in November of 2021. After scientists there sequenced the genetic material of virus samples, they alerted the general public internationally due to the number of mutations the virus has and the likelihood that it could be highly transmissible. The World Health Organization then labeled the Omicron a "variant of concern" but noted that we need more information about the omicron before we understand how it works.

Given that the Omicron was first identified outside of the U.S. and the fact that people infected with COVID-19 have a much higher risk of virus-related heart issues, the idea that this variant is a cover-up is inaccurate. Unvaccinated and vaccinated people are still facing the daily risk of heart disease and blood clots they did before the pandemic started, but due to the virus, the unvaccinated are much more likely to develop severe COVID-19 infections and symptoms like blood clots, myocarditis, and stroke than those who have received the jabs.

Resources

  1. Risk of thrombocytopenia and thromboembolism after covid-19 vaccination and SARS-CoV-2 positive testing: self-controlled case series study (The BMJ)
  2. Heart inflammation, COVID-19 and the rare side effects of the vaccine (UC Davis Health)
  3. Myocarditis and Pericarditis After mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  4. Covid-19 vaccines: In the rush for regulatory approval, do we need more data? (The BMJ)
  5. Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (The Lancet Haematology)
  6. Safety of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Setting (The New England Journal of Medicine)
  7. COVID-19 Messenger RNA Vaccination and Myocarditis—A Rare and Mostly Mild Adverse Effect (JAMA Internal Medicine)
  8. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) (World Health Organization)
  9. World Thrombosis Day (WTD)
  10. Update on Omicron (World Health Organization)
  1. Risk of thrombocytopenia and thromboembolism after covid-19 vaccination and SARS-CoV-2 positive testing: self-controlled case series study (The BMJ)
  2. Heart inflammation, COVID-19 and the rare side effects of the vaccine (UC Davis Health)
  3. Myocarditis and Pericarditis After mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  4. Covid-19 vaccines: In the rush for regulatory approval, do we need more data? (The BMJ)
  5. Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (The Lancet Haematology)
  6. Safety of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Setting (The New England Journal of Medicine)
  7. COVID-19 Messenger RNA Vaccination and Myocarditis—A Rare and Mostly Mild Adverse Effect (JAMA Internal Medicine)
  8. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) (World Health Organization)
  9. World Thrombosis Day (WTD)
  10. Update on Omicron (World Health Organization)

Media briefing

Media Release

Expert Comments: 

No items found.

Q&A

No items found.