FINLAND – Government authorities from the Nordic countries have announced that they will pause the use of Moderna’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for men born in 1991 and later due to reports of increased risk of rare cardiovascular side effects.
This pronouncement comes a day after Swedish and Danish health officials announced a moratorium on the use of the Moderna vaccine for all young adults and children, citing concerns over rare side effects to the heart.
“A Nordic study involving Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark found that men under the age of 30 who received Moderna Spikevax had a slightly higher risk than others of developing myocarditis,” director Mika Salminen from the health institute said.
The countries have adequate supplies of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and will be able to continue their vaccination campaigns.
Subsequently, Salminen stated that Moderna’s vaccine Spikevax would not be administered to young men immediately as a precautionary measure. Instead, the young men would be given Pfizer’s vaccine.
Swedish Public Health Agency noted that the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis seemingly were tied to the second dose of Moderna vaccine. Nonetheless, it added that the symptoms resolve by themselves but should be evaluated by a doctor.
In Norway, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health urged young people under 30 to choose the Pfizer vaccine “due to an increased risk of a rare side effect” with Moderna.
In Denmark, children and young people aged 12 to 17 have been primarily invited to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
“Those who are vaccinated recently, with their first or second dose of Moderna’s vaccine, don’t need to feel worried because the risk is very minor, but it is good to know which symptoms you should be on the lookout for,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorized the emergency use of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for teenagers in July, the first time that it was cleared for anyone under 18. Canada also recently approved its use for those as young as 12.
According to regulators in the United States, the European Union, and the World Health Organization, the benefits of shots based on the mRNA technology used by Moderna — and Pfizer-BioNTech — in preventing COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks.