A 16-year-old Singaporean boy is in critical condition and admitted at the National University Hospital (NUH) after he suffered a cardiac arrest early on Saturday (July 4). He is said to have collapsed at home soon after returning from the gym where he lifted heavy weights – just six days after receiving his first dose of Covid-19 vaccination.
On Monday (July 5), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement that they will investigate the teenager’s case. They also added that they are in close contact with the team at National University Hospital (NUH) who are providing medical care for the patient.
16YO Boy’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest Happens After Working Out With “Very Heavy Weights”
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The teenager received the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine on June 27, and collapsed at home on the morning of Saturday (July 5). MOH says he was previously assessed by trained healthcare personnel to be suitable to receive the Covid-19 vaccine and was also observed on-site for about 30 minutes afterwards.
The teen was well for the following five days after his vaccination and so engaged in weightlifting at the gym right before he collapsed. The ministry adds that the boy trains “with very heavy weights which were above his body weight.”
MOH was alerted of the case on July 3, by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) where the boy was first brought for medical care. He was then transferred to NUH where he is currently in the intensive care unit.
“The preliminary diagnosis of his condition is an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Clinical and laboratory tests are in progress to understand the underlying cause,” says MOH.
The ministry adds, “We will also work with the medical team in NUH to determine if this might be linked to his COVID-19 vaccination. This will include a thorough consideration of whether there was acute severe myocarditis, which is severe inflammation of the heart muscles affecting the heart function, as a possible diagnosis.”
Strenuous Physical Activity Should Be Avoided A Week After Vaccination
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In another statement on July 5, the Expert Committee advises that people who have been vaccinated, particularly adolescents and men under 30 years old, should “avoid exercise or any strenuous physical activity for one week after the vaccination.”
This was an update from their previous advisory about avoiding strenuous activity for a week after receiving the second dose. The expert committee released the update given the “emerging data on the small risk of myocarditis and pericarditis” found after people receive mRNA Covid-19 vaccines.
“During this time, the vaccinated persons should seek medical attention promptly if they develop chest pain, shortness of breath or abnormal heartbeats. All doctors should also be vigilant around such clinical presentations after vaccination,” adds MOH.
Those with vaccine-related myocarditis may have mild symptoms and make an uneventful recovery but the committee says it is possible that “the condition may be aggravated by factors or strenuous activities that may affect the heart.”
This may explain why a sudden cardiac arrest happens when people undergo strenuous physical exercises, just as it did with the 16-year-old boy.
“After extensive deliberation, the Expert Committee continues to recommend vaccination with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for all eligible persons, including adolescents and younger men, as the protective benefits from the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines continue to outweigh the risks of vaccination. Vaccinations should continue to remain voluntary,” says the ministry.