Season 2 Episode 10: Fighting COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation and Heart Awareness

Season 2, Episode 10,   Jan 06, 2023, 04:00 PM

Additional resources

Fighting COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation and Heart Awareness: 

Q1: Some social media posts I’ve read suggest COVID-19 vaccines lead to football player Damar Hamlin collapsing in the middle of an NFL game on Monday. Should I believe them?

It’s best to be cautious about other users’ online posts around the COVID-19 vaccine, especially if they are vague, and trigger emotional responses like fear and anxiety. In this case, many of these posts imply a connection between Hamlin’s collapse, and the COVID-19 vaccine without citing any sources. Some even say he passed away from the incident using the hashtag #diedsuddenly, when he’s actually in a hospital as of the publishing of this episode.

It’s also important to note that Hamlin’s vaccination status is unknown, and his full medical history isn’t publicly accessible information. 

For now, Hamlin’s team the Buffalo Bills say he experienced a cardiac arrest shortly after a tackle. While there’s no confirmed reason as to why, doctors following the situation say it was possibly due to something called commotio cordis.

Q2: What is commotio cordis? Is it the same as a heart attack?

Commotio cordis happens whenever someone experiences enough blunt force or trauma to the chest during a specific timing of their heartbeat, when the heart is most vulnerable to such impacts. Their heart can stop beating unexpectedly as a result, otherwise known as cardiac arrest. 

In this situation, calling 9-1-1 and giving CPR as soon as possible can save that person’s life until emergency response teams (EMTs) arrive.  

By comparison, heart attacks can happen when the heart doesn’t get enough blood, usually due to something blocking the bloodflow. Since someone experiencing a heart attack can still talk and breathe, they don’t need CPR, but they do need to get to a hospital right away.

Q3: Does getting the COVID-19 vaccine have any side effects that may affect my heart?

There have been rare reports of Myocarditis and Pericarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle and inflammation of the heart’s outer lining respectively. While few, these cases tend to happen in teen boys and young men within a week of getting their second COVID-19 shot. With that said, they felt better quickly after getting some care and medicine. 

Those aside, there’s a remote chance of a severe allergic reaction within minutes to an hour of getting your COVID-19 vaccine. A fast heartbeat and dizziness are some possible signs of this.  

Q4: Are COVID-19 vaccines safe? Should I still get myself or my child vaccinated?

Yes. Vaccines go through constant testing for quality and safety, even after they’re licensed and approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Getting vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 helps prevent possibly severe complications like getting seriously ill, being hospitalized and dying. Additionally, the vaccine helps reliably create an immune response against the virus without the potential illness or post-COVID conditions that can come with an infection.

As the virus evolves over time and mutates into different variants like Omicron, keeping up to date on booster shots you’re eligible for can offer protection against those new variants.

Q5: I heard about a new variant type called XBB.1.5 in the news. What is the latest we know about it?

At this time, we know that XBB.1.5 is a subvariant of Omicron that’s steadily grown across December 2022. By the end of that month, it made up 18.2% of cases across Oregon, Washington and Idaho, and 40% of cases nationally, according to the CDC.

There’s currently no evidence of it causing more severe illness from catching the virus, though its mutations allow it to spread more quickly than other subvariants. While there’s still a lot to learn, I think we should be hearing more about it in the coming weeks as new information becomes available. 

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"Why are we getting an influx of super sicknesses? Respiratory systems seem to be under attack (RSV, colds, Covid) what factors are contributing to this?" - Janita Jones

"Might be good to address the concerns of myocarditis and vaccines." - Holly Hinson

"Ideas & Community Care practices inclusive of immunocompromised people - how can we move forward without leaving a group of people behind?" - Emma Holland