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Riley doctor says vaccine benefits outweigh negative effects in children

Dr. Ryan Serrano said myocarditis is so rare that he only knows of one patient who came through Riley Hospital for Children for treatment — and they're doing OK.

INDIANAPOLIS — There's a local focus on getting more young people vaccinated against COVID-19.

There's also a concerning link between the vaccines and a rare heart condition called myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart.

According to Riley Hospital for Children Dr. Ryan Serrano, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the negative effects of catching COVID-19.

"I think the other thing people need to remember is that getting COVID is also a risk for getting inflammation and damage to the heart significantly more than the vaccine, and that is multiplied if you're not healthy and if you're older," Serrano said. "So, if you have comorbidities or other illnesses, that risk of heart disease and heart damage is even higher."

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Serrano said myocarditis is very rare and he only knows of one patient who came through Riley Hospital for Children for treatment — and that patient is doing OK.

Still, many parents are growing concerned.

"The concern is that you're going to do what's best for your children and your family," Serrano said. "There's a lot of information floating out there, a lot of distrust that seems to be floating around on the internet. Some people tend to believe what they hear more easily from sources that may not be reliable. That's the biggest issue."

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The heart condition isn't new. It's been around long before COVID, so it's hard to know how many cases are directly connected to the vaccine.

As of May 31, the CDC found fewer than 196 cases among those ages 18 to 24. From ages 6 to 17, there were 79 reports of illness. Keep in mind, those reports are out of millions of vaccine doses.

According to the CDC, more than 309 million Americans have at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

Overall, less then 800 cases of myocarditis have been reported.

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