Clinical outcomes are worse in COVID patients with cardiovascular disease and conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, evidence shows.

Racial and ethnic minorities have also been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The causes of this imbalance are due, in large part, to disparities in education, housing, healthy food, and access to healthcare. Known collectively as “social determinants of health,” these factors are critical to overall health and well-being.

Racial and ethnic disparities in these social determinants of health, in turn, contribute to higher rates of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) among Black and Hispanic populations. And these chronic conditions are associated with more severe outcomes in COVID patients.

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What special risks does COVID present to people with heart disease or related conditions?

Patients with heart disease are at higher risk of getting really sick from the virus, to the point where they may require hospitalization or intensive care. "Heart disease" includes common conditions such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure (an inability of the heart to adequately pump blood), and coronary artery disease (or plaque buildup in the walls of the blood vessels).

What special precautions should heart patients take to prevent infection?

Always wear a mask when leaving the house, avoid large gatherings, maintain social distancing and wash your hands frequently.

Should heart patients get the COVID vaccine?


The technology that forms the basis for the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) has been around for a while. It's been extensively studied by researchers across the world. This technology involves using your body's own defenses in preventing you from getting sick.

Is one vaccine preferred over another?

In line with the CDC’s recommendation to use mRNA vaccines over Johnson & Johnson, Novant Health is now exclusively offering Moderna and Pfizer COVID immunizations for the primary series. People who experienced an allergic reaction to an mRNA vaccine can, however, opt to receive a J&J booster at Novant Health.

The recommendation cited the risk of blood clots linked to J&J’s vaccine.

Dr. David Priest
Dr. David Priest

“I would emphasize that the adverse events the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) includes in their latest report are incredibly rare and involve blood clotting. However, COVID-19 itself creates much higher risk of blood clots than the vaccine does. Despite these changes, J&J has been important tool and protected millions of people around the world from getting COVID,” said Dr. David Priest, Novant Health chief safety, quality and epidemiology officer.

Individuals who prefer or are only eligible for the J&J vaccine are encouraged to check NCDHHS or a retail pharmacy for availability.

What is this I'm hearing about myocarditis?

A very small number of people have developed myocarditis, an inflammation of heart muscle, after COVID-19 vaccination. The CDC says this occurs when the body's immune system causes inflammation after vaccination.

While extremely rare, cases of myocarditis have occurred after mRNA COVID vaccinations (Pfizer or Moderna), especially in male adolescents and young adults, more often after the second dose and usually within a week of vaccination, the CDC said.

While most patients with myocarditis who received care have responded well to medicine and rest, those who have been diagnosed with it should consult with a cardiologist. Here is more information.

Symptoms of myocarditis include chest pain, shortness of breath and feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart. Please seek medical care if you experience these symptoms after vaccination.