After three rare cardiac complications in teenage elite competitive cyclists who had recently received COVID vaccinations, Belgian doctors are strongly advising athletes to postpone intensive physical activity after receiving a vaccine dose.

The cyclists all from the amateur Acrog-Tormans Balen team were between 15 and 17 years old and developed chest pain during races or intensive workouts after being vaccinated.

The young men were all healthy, fit and had not experienced any noticeable side-effects from the vaccine.  So far, no similar incidents have been reported among older vaccinated cyclists.  

The Belgian Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products has issued a warning of the risks of inflammation of the heart after receiving doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.

“In very rare cases myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammations or swellings in the heart) can occur within fourteen days after vaccination. And more often it seems to occur after a second dose and in young, athletic men,” said Dr. Kris Van der Mieren of the Belgian Cycling Federation.

Van de Mieren added, “no need to panic, but we recommend cyclists taking it easy for at least one week after receiving a vaccine dose.” 

As a result of these alarming incidents, the Acrog-Tormans Balen team has prohibited their riders from racing immediately after being vaccinated, regardless of how well they feel. 

Some athletes in other sports have been reluctant to get vaccinated, citing performance concerns. However, despite a few rare cases of post-vaccination cardiac problems, health experts stress that the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risks.

PHOTOS: Acrog-Tormans Balen

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