Are Covid-19 booster shots leading to heart attacks? Experts explain

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The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019 has been a disaster for the whole world with India also facing the devastating effects due to the virus. Around 5.20 lakh people died in India due to complications related to the Covid-19 infection. The spread of the virus and consequential deaths are still continuing and the government is working on a mission mode to vaccinate as many people as possible. Meanwhile, social media is also flooded with reports like booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine leading to heart inflammation or even heart attack.

As World Heart Day is approaching on 29 September, let’s debunk such rumors with the help of experts. World Heart Day is observed annually to raise awareness about the importance of keeping the heart in good shape because it is one of the most important organs that deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells as well as removes waste products.

A booster dose of Covid-19 is of utmost importance especially for the elderly as they are more susceptible to the complications of the infection. But, on social media multiple posts claim about the risks of heart inflammation due to the booster dose.

‘USE HEART FOR EVERY BEAT’ is the theme of World Heart Day this year.

“As per the data provided by The Indian Heart Association, Indians tend to suffer from heart ailments at an earlier age than other demographics, often without warning. Contrary to the earlier belief that heart-related issues impact only the elderly population, it is found that 50 percent of all heart attacks in Indian men occur under 50 years of age and 25 percent of all heart attacks in Indian men occur in their 30s,” said Dr. Ajay Madhukar Naik who is a renowned cardiologist at Marengo CIMS Hospital, Ahmedabad.

Unhealthy lifestyle practices like eating junk food, smoking, tobacco consumption, inordinate alcohol consumption, continuing desk jobs for years and not taking out time for regular physical exercise, contribute to a number of heart diseases.

Inadequate sleep and stress (both physical and mental) for a long span of hours also affect the fitness of the heart. All these factors added to the Covid-19 infection-induced complications and led to preventable fatalities.

“The significant rise of heart ailments and cardiac deaths in the Covid pandemic and post-pandemic era may be related to the weakening of the heart muscles and other detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle owing to “work from home” during the lockdowns. Both psychological stress and relative physical inactivity contribute to adverse effects on the heart. The adverse impact of Covid-induced damage on the heart may have long-term sequelae,” Dr. Ajay added.

Speaking about the association of the COVID vaccine or the booster shots with cardiovascular disorders, Dr. A.M Deshmukh, President, Microbiologist Society, India said, “COVID has undoubtedly increased the risk for cardiovascular disorders. People with lifestyle diseases, like Diabetes, Cholesterol Hypertension, etc., if infected with COVID-19, are at an elevated risk for developing cardiac problems or experiencing a heart attack and even death; compared to those who don’t have any co-morbid health conditions.”

“Currently, all 4 boosters: Covishield, Covaxin, Corbevax, and Sputnik Light have shown promising results against the latest Omicron variant and its subvariants. Over time, the efficacy of two primary doses wanes, and to restore the effectiveness of the protection against the novel coronavirus, getting your ‘precautionary dose’ is crucial.”

Even after the government’s announcement of a free booster dose at public health facilities, three-fourths of the population is still left to get the booster dose of the vaccination.

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