By Zachary Stieber
Some sudden deaths were caused by COVID-19 vaccines, autopsies have confirmed.
Eight people who died suddenly after receiving a messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine died due to a type of vaccine-induced heart inflammation called myocarditis, South Korean authorities said after reviewing the autopsies.
“Vaccine-related myocarditis was the only possible cause of death,” Dr. Kye Hun Kim of the Chonnam National University Hospital and other South Korean researchers said.
All of the sudden cardiac deaths (SCD) occurred in people aged 45 or younger, including a 33-year-old man who died just one day after receiving a second dose of Moderna’s vaccine and a 30-year-old woman who died three days after receiving a first dose of Pfizer’s shot.
Myocarditis wasn’t suspected as a clinical diagnosis or cause of death before the autopsies, researchers said.
Thirteen other deaths were recorded among those who experienced myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination but no autopsy results were detailed. Some of those who died had received AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The results show the need for “careful monitoring or warning of SCD as a potentially fatal complication of COVID-19 vaccination, especially in individuals who are ages under 45 years with mRNA vaccination,” according to the researchers, who reported the findings in a study published by the European Heart Journal on June 2.
The study was funded by the South Korean government.
Dr. Andrew Bostom, a retired professor of medicine in the United States who wasn’t involved in the research, said the results emphasize why mandating and promoting vaccines for younger people was wrong.
“These are people who ostensibly did not need the vaccine,” Bostom told The Epoch Times after reviewing the paper. “That’s what adds insult to injury.”
Pfizer, Moderna, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Rare, but Severe in a Fifth of Cases
The overall occurrence of myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination was rare, according to the study, though one of its limitations is that the true number could be higher.
Out of 44.2 million people who received at least one dose of the Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca vaccines between Feb. 26, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2021, 1,533 cases of suspected myocarditis were reported to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Out of those, an expert adjudication committee confirmed 480 cases of vaccine-induced myocarditis.
The cases primarily happened in males and people under 40. All but 18 were caused by an mRNA vaccine.
The overall rate was one case per 100,000 vaccinated persons. The highest rates were in 12- to 17-year-olds, with 3.7 cases per 100,000 and 5.2 cases per 100,000 males.
The numbers weren’t broken down by vaccine type and age, meaning the rates were diluted because they included non-mRNA vaccine recipients. Excluding non-mRNA shots has led to the estimation of higher rates in other places, such as 75.9 cases per one million second Pfizer doses in 16- and 17-year-old American males.
Both those numbers and the Korean figures are prone to underreporting. In Korea, authorities automatically excluded any cases involving myocarditis developed 43 days or more after vaccination as well as any cases that included a positive COVID-19 test, despite some experts asserting there’s stronger evidence for vaccine-caused myocarditis than COVID-19-induced heart inflammation.
“We have kids showing up, young adults showing up with chest pain, and most of them end up in the hospital for 24, 48, 72 hours and they go home. But are we missing people that are dying before they get to the hospital?” Dr. Anish Koka, an American cardiologist, told The Epoch Times after reviewing the study.
“Now, just because we live in the real world and we’re not seeing avalanches of kids dying, we know that it’s a rare signal, but how rare is it? Is it happening?” he added. “The new study clearly shows that it’s happening. No doubt we’ve had deaths happen in the U.S. post-vaccine that have just not been attributed correctly.”
Myocarditis is a known side effect of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and can cause death, according to previous research and medical examiners. Symptoms included chest pain, trouble sleeping, and fever. While many people who experience myocarditis after vaccination are discharged from the hospital within a day or two, they can still suffer from long-term problems.
The new study classified 1 in 5 vaccine-induced myocarditis cases as severe. Those cases involved one or more of the following: intensive care unit admission, fulminant myocarditis, usage of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, heart transplantation, and death.
“A fifth of the cases were determined to be serious,” Bostom said. “It’s disturbing.”
South Korea’s government established a reporting system for all adverse events following vaccination before COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out, tying it to a national compensation system that pays for medical expenses related to the adverse events.
The system even provides compensation to people who cannot establish causality to a vaccine but provide evidence such as temporal association, or the event happening soon after vaccination. Authorities also grant money to people who suffer mild effects.
More than 20,000 people were compensated through the program as of August 2022.
Both countries require health care workers to report certain events after vaccination, such as myocarditis, though not all cases have been reported, at least in the United States.
U.S. officials have reviewed autopsies done on people who died after receiving COVID-19 vaccines but have refused to release them. In an update in February, officials said they would provide some information from the autopsy reports but to date have not done so.