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COVID-19: Finland joins Sweden, Denmark to restrict Moderna vaccine

Finland has suspended the use of Moderna’s  (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine for younger males.

Finish health officials said on Thursday that the move was  due to reports of a rare cardiovascular side effect.

By so doing, Finland has joined Sweden and Denmark in limiting the use of the vaccine.

According to the director of the Finnish health institute, Mika Salminen, the government will instead be giving Pfizer’s vaccine to men born in 1991 and later. Finland offers shots to people aged 12 and above.

“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,” Mr Salminen said.

On Wednesday, Swedish and Danish health officials announced they would  pause the use of the Moderna vaccine for all young adults and children, citing the same unpublished study.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.

In July, EMA’s safety committee concluded that such inflammatory heart conditions  could occur in very rare cases following vaccination with Spikevax or the Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty jab, more often in younger men after the second dose.

Regulators in the US, EU and the World Health Organization have however stressed that the benefits of shots based on the mRNA technology used by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech in preventing COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks.

A Moderna spokesperson said late on Wednesday it was aware of the decisions by the Swedish and Danish regulators, adding: “These are typically mild cases.…”