Finland follows other Nordic countries by suspending Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
Finland has joined other Nordic countries in suspending or discouraging the use of Moderna‘s COVID-19 vaccine in certain age groups because of an increased risk of heart inflammation, a rare side effect associated with the shot. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare said Thursday that authorities won’t give the shot to males under age 30. They will be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine instead. The government agency said it found that young men and boys were at a slightly higher risk of developing myocarditis . The move by Finland followed similar decisions by three neighboring countries on Wednesday. Sweden suspended the use of Moderna for people 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.
All four countries based their decision on an unpublished study with Sweden”s Public Health Agency saying that it signals â€œan increased risk of side effects such as inflammation of the heart muscle or the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.” “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,” he said. Swedish and Danish health officials had announced on Wednesday they would pause the use of the Moderna vaccine for all young adults and children, citing the same unpublished study.
Norwegian health officials reiterated on Wednesday that they recommended men under the age of 30 opt for Pfizer’s vaccine.
The Finnish institute said the Nordic study would be published within a couple of weeks and preliminary data had been sent to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for further assessment. Sweden’s health officials suspended the use of Moderna’s COVID vaccine for persons aged 30 and under on October 5, citing the need for prudence. The reason for the pause, according to Sweden’s Public Health Agency, is ‘signals of an elevated 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 veins.
Sweden’s top epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, stated that they will “monitor the situation closely and act fast to guarantee that COVID-19 immunizations are always as safe as possible while also providing effective protection” against the disease, AP reported. In July, the European Medicines Agency recommended that the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna be approved for children aged 12 to 17, marking the first time the vaccine had been approved for those under the age of 18.Adults have already received hundreds of millions of doses of Moderna. In a study of more than 3,700 youngsters aged 12 to 17, the vaccination elicited the same signals of immunological protection, and there were no COVID-19 diagnoses in the vaccinated group, compared to four cases in the dummy injection group.