Two countries pause Moderna rollout for youths over rare side effects
Sweden and Denmark have said they will pause the use of Modern’s COVID-19 vaccine for younger age groups after reports of possible rare side effects, such as myocarditis.
The Swedish Health Agency said on Wednesday it would pause using the shot for those born in 1991 and later, as data points to an increase in myocarditis and pericarditis among youths and young adults who have been vaccinated.
Those conditions involve inflammation of the heart or its lining.
“The connection is especially clear when it comes to Modern’s vaccine Spikevax, especially after the second dose,” the healthy agency said in a statement, adding the risk of being affected was very small.
Denmark said that, while it was already using the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine as the main option for those aged 12-17 years, it had decided to pause giving the Moderna vaccine to those under 18 as a “precautionary principle”.
“In the preliminary data….there is a suspicion of an increased risk of heart inflammation, when vaccinated with Moderna,” The Danish Health Authority said in a statement.
It referred to data from an as yet unpublished Nordic study, which would now be sent to European Medicines Agency (EMA) for further assessment. Final data was expected within a month, it added.
Sweden and Denmark said they now recommend the Comirnaty vaccine, from Pfizer/Biontech instead.
Norway already recommends the Pfizer vaccine to minors and said on Wednesday that it was reiterating this, underlining that the rare side effects could happen particularly for boys and young men, mainly after receiving a second dose.
“Men under 30 should also consider choosing Cominarty when they get vaccinated,” Geir Bukholm, head of infection control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said in a statement.
A Finnish health official said that Finland expected to publish a decision on Thursday.