Scandinavians discouraging some younger patients away from Moderna
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 inflammation, a rare side effect 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 Pfizer vaccine instead.
The countries have adequate supplies of Pfizer 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All three countries based their decision on an unpublished study with Sweden’s Public Health Agency saying that it signals “an increased risk of side effects such as inflammation of the heart muscle or the pericardium”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 affected 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 effective 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.