The purpose of this study is to determine the ECG parameter change and the efficacy of ECG screening for cardiac adverse effect after the second dose of BNT162b2 vaccine in young population. In December 2021, in cooperation with the school vaccination system of Taipei City government, we performed a ECG screening study during the second dose of BNT162b2 vaccines. Serial comparisons of ECGs and questionnaire survey were performed before and after vaccine in four male-predominant senior high schools. Among 7934 eligible students, 4928 (62.1%) were included in the study. The male/female ratio was 4576/352. In total, 763 students (17.1%) had at least one cardiac symptom after the second vaccine dose, mostly chest pain and palpitations. The depolarization and repolarization parameters (QRS duration and QT interval) decreased significantly after the vaccine with increasing heart rate. Abnormal ECGs were obtained in 51 (1.0%) of the students, of which 1 was diagnosed with mild myocarditis and another 4 were judged to have significant arrhythmia. None of the patients needed to be admitted to hospital and all of these symptoms improved spontaneously. Using these five students as a positive outcome, the sensitivity and specificity of this screening method were 100% and 99.1%, respectively. Conclusion: Cardiac symptoms are common after the second dose of BNT162b2 vaccine, but the incidences of significant arrhythmias and myocarditis are only 0.1%. The serial ECG screening method has high sensitivity and specificity for significant cardiac adverse effect but cost effect needs further discussed. What is Known: • The incidence of cardiac adverse effects was reported to be as high as 1.5 per 10 000 persons after the second dose BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine in the young male population based on the reporting system. What is New: • Through this mass ECG screening study after the second dose of BNT162b2 vaccine we found: (1) The depolarization and repolarization parameters (QRS duration and QT interval) decreased significantly after the vaccine with increasing heart rate; (2) the incidence of post-vaccine myocarditis and significant arrhythmia are 0.02% and 0.08%; (3) The serial ECG screening method has high sensitivity and specificity for significant cardiac adverse effect.
The risk of myocarditis in this large cohort study was highest in young males after the second SARS-CoV-2 vaccine dose, and this risk should be balanced against the benefits of protecting against severe COVID-19 disease.