U.S. experts reiterate safety of Pfizer vaccine for those 16 and older

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Health workers administer Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinian students during a back to school vaccination campaign, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Health workers administer Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinian students during a back to school vaccination campaign, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

U.S. government advisers on Monday reiterated that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for people 16 and older.

The vaccine was the first to win full approval in the U.S. for that age group last week. It also remains available for emergency use by 12- to 15-year-olds.

The full approval gave advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a chance to look at all the extra evidence about safety since vaccinations first began last December. And data revealed Monday showed one serious side effect, heart inflammation, remains exceedingly rare after both the Pfizer vaccine and the similar Moderna shot.

The CDC has counted 2,574 cases of heart inflammation after hundreds of millions of doses of both vaccines. It mostly strikes males under 30 about a week after vaccination. CDC tracking shows the vast majority recover without lingering symptoms.

The CDC put the rare risk into sharper perspective. For every 1 million Pfizer vaccine doses administered to 16- to 17-year-old males, it estimated there would be 73 cases of the heart inflammation. But 500 COVID-19 hospitalizations among these teens would be prevented over the next four months.

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