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Spokane ‘young leader’ latest winner of Washington’s $250,000 vaccine lottery; CDC says side effects rare, recommends COVID-19 shot for kids

June 24, 2021 Updated Thu., June 24, 2021 at 9:35 p.m.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating hundreds of cases of heart inflammation following vaccination for COVID-19, but so far, these rare side effects are treatable. CDC and state health officials still recommend vaccines for every person 12 and older, due to the risk of severe disease and complications from COVID-19.

Nationwide, thousands of cases of heart inflammation were reported through the vaccine adverse-event reporting system. Then the CDC investigated 616 cases in people under 30, confirming 393 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis in people who have received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Myocarditis and pericarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle or the outer heart lining, are treatable.

Cases of myocarditis or pericarditis are rare, with tens of millions of people receiving mRNA vaccines without symptoms. So far, most of the confirmed cases are in males 16 or younger, usually within several days after COVID-19 vaccination.

Dr. Mary Fairchok, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, has treated adolescents with myocarditis following vaccination, as well as adolescents who test positive for COVID-19 and are then diagnosed with multi-inflammatory syndrome.

The risk posed by COVID-19 still outweighs the potential myocarditis , she said. Fairchok treated one teenager who had myocarditis in the days after they were vaccinated.

“It appears to be mild. The vast, vast majority of cases resolve quickly and don’t appear to have any long-lasting inflammation to the heart,” Fairchok told reporters on Monday.

The three myocarditis cases treated at Mary Bridge have been resolved, Fairchok said.

Fairchok treated another teenager recently who was reinfected with COVID-19 this spring after having the virus a year earlier. This teenager got multi-inflammatory syndrome and continues to suffer long COVID symptoms, she said.

“It’s a good illustration of the need for vaccine in people who’ve been infected in the past,” she said.

Symptoms of myocarditis include chest pain, shortness of breath and feelings of having a fast-beating or pounding heart.

The CDC was in Washington state earlier this month investigating myocarditis cases, but state health officials have said these cases are mild, and no deaths have been reported.

With the threat of new variants sweeping the country, state health officials are asking residents to get vaccinated soon.

People who get vaccinated can be entered in the statewide lottery to win prizes, and be eligible for a $1 million lottery in July.

A pre-nursing student from Spokane is the state’s newest vaccine lottery winner.

Marissa P. joined Gov. Jay Inslee in Olympia on Thursday after winning the weekly $250,000 drawing for vaccinated residents.

Inslee called her a “young leader” who is part of the effort to get Washington residents vaccinated.

“You are serving as a role model, particularly for people your age,” he said.

She is the third Washington resident to win the weekly prize that state officials hope will incentivize more people in the state to get vaccinated.

Inslee set Wednesday as the state’s reopening date, unless 70% of those 16 and up receive a vaccine beforehand. Currently, 68% of those 16 and up are vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.

Marissa P. did not answer media questions but had advice for those listening: “Stay safe, stay healthy and go get vaccinated.”

Here’s a look at local numbersThe Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 25 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths on Thursday.

There have been 663 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County residents.

There are 35 people hospitalized in Spokane .

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 26 new cases and two additional deaths.

There have been 315 deaths due to COVID-19 in Panhandle residents.

There are 27 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.

S-R Reporter Laurel Demkovich contributed to this story.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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