(WTNH) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating whether the hospitalization of over a dozen children with heart inflammation is connected to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that reduces the organ’s ability to pump blood normally, is very rare in children, yet several cases have presented in Connecticut, where more than a dozen have been hospitalized.

So far, 18 kids in Connecticut have been hospitalized; 17 have since been sent home from the hospital, and one remains under observation as doctors try and see if this is linked to the COVID vaccine.

“Providers in Connecticut let us know about 18 cases in our state,” Dr. Deirdre Gifford, Connecticut’s Commissioner of Public Health, said Monday. “We have been in touch with the CDC to make sure they are aware of the cases so they are studying this question.”

Doctors say myocarditis feels like heartburn.

“If your child develops chest pains, it’s going to be very rare, or shortness of breath, or very fatigued, then please call your pediatrician,” said Dr. Juan Salazar at Connecticut Children’s health system. “If you’re not sure, come in, we can see you.”

Yale and other area hospitals as well as hospitals throughout New England have also seen cases.

The big question for parents is, should you continue to get your child vaccinated?

Chief Dr. Jeremy Asnes, of Yale New Haven Children’s Heart Center, answered, “Yes, you should absolutely continue on with the recommended vaccination schedule. The myocarditis that we are seeing thus far is very mild.”

“If it happens, it’s rare,” Salazar assures parents. “Is it associated with a vaccine? Maybe. We don’t know yet, and when it is seen with a vaccine, the cases have required hospitalization. But they have recovered fully, which is good news.”

Late Monday, in response to the reports of the 18 cases of myocarditis in Connecticut, the CT Freedom Alliance (CTFA) released a statement calling on Gov. Ned Lamont to “issue an executive order immediately halting the administration of any of the COVID-19 vaccines to children and young adults.”

“The truth is, myocarditis is rarely seen in children, with an estimated one to two cases per every 100,000 children. So to see 18 cases in such a short span of time in Connecticut alone is deeply troubling,” CTFA President Dawn Jolly said. “Even more troubling, though, is the fact that we can’t be sure what long-term effects these children will experience as a result of developing this serious
condition. In light of this disturbing news, the governor has a duty to stop this immediately.”

Both Yale New Haven Children’s and Connecticut Children’s, however, recommend getting vaccinated, saying that when you weigh the coronavirus against myocarditis, children are recovering from the heart inflammation, but have died from COVID.

So far, none of the children have suffered any long-term effects from the vaccine.