Ask the doctors
Q. I experienced a heart attack a few years ago. I'm worried about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Is it safe for someone with my medical history?
A. Yes. The vaccine is safe and advised for people with a history of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. While you should always discuss the particulars of your situation with your doctor, the American Heart Association said in a statement issued on Jan. 15, 2021, that it's important for people who have had heart disease or stroke (or who are at high risk for these conditions) to get vaccinated as quickly as possible, because they are at higher risk for severe disease if infected. The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks. Clinical trials of the first two approved vaccines found that both are safe and, after two injections, are about 95% effective at preventing illness from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine often causes soreness at the injection site. Other common side effects, such as headache and diffuse muscle pain, are usually mild and last only one or two days. More severe reactions, including allergic reactions, have occurred but are very rare.
— Toni Golen, M.D., and Hope Ricciotti, M.D.
Editors in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch
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