Scandinavian authorities suspended or discouraged the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in young people on Wednesday due to an increased risk of heart inflammation, an infrequent side effect of the shot.
Halted For Young People
The country is seeing signs of an increased risk of side effects, such as heart muscle inflammation. Sweden has suspended the use of Moderna for recipients under the age of 30, Denmark has stated that those under the age of 18 will not be offered the Swiss-made vaccine, and Norway has urged those under the age of 30 to receive the Pfizer vaccine instead.
The countries will be able to continue their vaccination campaigns because they have sufficient supplies of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. According to Dr. Hanna Nohynek, chief physician at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, authorities in neighboring Finland are expected to announce their decision Thursday.
All three countries based their decision on an unpublished study with Sweden’s Public Health Agency saying that it signals “an increased risk of side effects such as inflammation of the heart muscle or the pericardium”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.”
Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, stated that they “follow the situation closely and act quickly to ensure that vaccinations against COVID-19 are always as safe as possible while also providing effective protection” against the disease.
The preliminary findings of the Nordic study have been forwarded to the European Medicines Agency’s adverse reaction committee for review.
Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut carried out the research. This government agency tracks the spread of the coronavirus in the country, Sweden’s Medical Products Agency, Norway’s National Institute of Public Health, and Finland’s Institute for Health and Welfare. According to Bolette Soeborg of the Danish government’s health agency, the final results should be available in about a month.
Adults have already received hundreds of millions of Moderna doses. In a study of over 3,700 children aged 12 to 17, the vaccine elicited the same signs of immune protection. There were no COVID-19 diagnoses in the vaccinated group, compared to four cases in the dummy shot group.
Young vaccine recipients’ most common side effects were the same as in adults: sore arms, headache, and fatigue.
According to Swedish health officials, the heart symptoms “usually go away on their own,” but a doctor must evaluate them. The conditions are most common in young men and are associated with viral infections such as COVID-19. In 2019, about 300 people under the age of 30 were hospitalized with myocarditis.
According to the Danish Health Authority on Wednesday, people under the age of 18 will not be offered the Moderna vaccine in Denmark as a precaution.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health urged young people under 30 in non-EU member Norway to choose the Pfizer vaccine “due to an increased risk of a rare side effect” with Moderna.
According to the Swedish agency, the Pfizer vaccine is recommended for these age groups instead. Its decision to halt the Moderna vaccine is effective until December 1.
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