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A multiprovincial retrospective analysis of the incidence of myocarditis or pericarditis after mRNA vaccination compared to the incidence after SARS-CoV-2 infection


Objective — To compare myocarditis/pericarditis risk after COVID-19 mRNA vaccination versus SARS-CoV-2 infection, and to assess if myocarditis/pericarditis risk varies by vaccine dosing interval.

Methods — In this retrospective cohort study, we used linked databases in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia between January 26, 2020, and September 9, 2021. We included individuals aged 12 or above who received an mRNA vaccine as the second dose or were SARS-CoV-2-positive by RT-PCR. The outcome was hospitalization/emergency department visit for myocarditis/pericarditis within 21 days of exposure. We calculated age- and sex-stratified incidence ratios (IRs) of myocarditis/pericarditis following mRNA vaccination versus SARS-CoV-2 infection. We also calculated myocarditis/pericarditis incidence by vaccine type, homologous/heterologous schedule, and dosing interval. We pooled province-specific estimates using meta-analysis.

Results — Following 18,860,817 mRNA vaccinations and 860,335 SARS-CoV-2 infections, we observed 686 and 160 myocarditis/pericarditis cases, respectively. Myocarditis/pericarditis incidence was lower after vaccination than infection (IR [BNT162b2/SARS-CoV-2], 0.14; 95%CI, 0.07–0.29; IR [mRNA-1273/SARS-CoV-2], 0.28; 95%CI, 0.20–0.39). Within the vaccinated cohort, myocarditis/pericarditis incidence was lower with longer dosing intervals; IR (56 or more days/15–30 days) was 0.28 (95%CI, 0.19–0.41) for BNT162b2 and 0.26 (95%CI, 0.18–0.38) for mRNA-1273.

Conclusion — Myocarditis/pericarditis risk was lower after mRNA vaccination than SARS-CoV-2 infection, and with longer intervals between primary vaccine doses.



Naveed Z, Chu C, Tadrous M, Veroniki AA, Li J, Rouleau I, Febriani Y, Calzavara A, Buchan S, Nasreen S, Schwartz KL, Wilton J, Seo CY,  Thampi N, Wilson S, Naus M, De Serres G, Janjua NZ, Kwong JC; Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) Provincial Collaborative Network investigators. Heliyon. 2024; Feb 19 [Epub ahead of print].

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