The Oklahoman

Scandinavi­ans discouragi­ng some younger patients away from Moderna

- Jan M. Olsen

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Scandinavi­an authoritie­s on Wednesday suspended or discourage­d the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in young people because of an increased risk of heart inflammation, a rare side effect associated with the shot.

Sweden suspended the use of Moderna for recipients under 30, Denmark said those under 18 won’t be offered the Swiss-made vaccine, and Norway urged those under 30 to get the Pfizer vaccine instead.

The countries have adequate supplies of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and will be able to continue their vaccinatio­n campaigns.

Finland authoritie­s are expected to announce their decision Thursday, according to Dr. Hanna Nohynek, chief physician at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, told local broadcaste­r YLE.

All three countries based their decision on an unpublishe­d study with Sweden’s Public Health Agency saying that it signals “an increased risk of side effects such as inflammation of the heart muscle or the pericardiu­m” – the double-walled sac containing the heart and the roots of the main vessels. It added: “The risk of being affected is very small.”

Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiolo­gist, said they “follow the situation closely and act quickly to ensure that vaccinatio­ns against COVID-19 are always as safe as possible and at the same time provide effective protection” against the disease.

The preliminar­y informatio­n from the Nordic study was sent to the European Medicines Agency’s adverse reaction committee to be assessed.

Moderna’s vaccine was given the green light for use in anyone 18 and over across the 27-nation European Union in January.

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