A study from Israel says COVID-19 carries a far higher risk of heart inflammation than Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine.
Researchers in Tel Aviv estimate there were three cases for every 100,000 people vaccinated with the Pfizer shot. But risk of it was 11 per 100,000 in people who were infected with the virus.
The finding were published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr Grace Lee is an infectious disease expert at Stanford University and says the paper is the first to assess the potential risks of vaccination “in the context of understanding the potential benefits of vaccination”.
Previous reports have linked the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to inflammation of the heart muscle. The problem was mainly seen in male teens and young men, who developed chest pain a few days after vaccination.
US health officials say they have confirmed about 800 vaccine-associated cases total of two types of inflammation - in the heart muscle and in the lining of the heart.
The Clalit Research Institute researchers looked at hundreds of thousands of people who were vaccinated and not vaccinated. Separately, they looked at unvaccinated people who were infected or not.
Since two different groups of people were studied, the researchers were limited in making comparisons. The study focused only on the Pfizer vaccine, and it did not provide breakdown of results by age or sex.