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Countries halt use of Moderna vaccine in young age groups

Sweden and Denmark have announced they are pausing the use of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine for younger age groups after reports of possible rare cardiovascular side effects.

The Swedish health agency said overnight that it would pause using the shot for people born in 1991 and later as data pointed to an increase of myocarditis and pericarditis among youths and young adults that had been vaccinated. Those conditions involve an inflammation of the heart or its lining.

"The connection is especially clear when it comes to Moderna's vaccine Spikevax, especially after the second dose," the health agency said, adding the risk of being affected was very small.

Sweden is pausing use of the vaccine for those under 30, while Denmark is doing the same for those under 18.

Both countries recommend the Pfizer jab for younger cohorts.

Both governments said they were following the 'precautionary principle' when pausing the Moderna vaccine.
Both governments said they were following the 'precautionary principle'. Source: Getty

A Moderna spokesperson said in an email the company was aware of the decisions by regulators in Denmark and Sweden to pause the use of its vaccine in younger individuals because of the rare risk of myocarditis and or pericarditis.

"These are typically mild cases and individuals tend to recover within a short time following standard treatment and rest. The risk of myocarditis is substantially increased for those who contract Covid-19, and vaccination is the best way to protect against this."

The new data which prompted the move was collected as past of an as yet published Nordic study. Final data was expected within a month.

Norway has since reiterated its recommendation for Pfizer for young people while Finland is also expected to publish a decision on the matter.

Symptom 'up to six times more likely' when actually catching Covid

According to one US study that has yet to undergo peer review, young males under 20 are up to six times more likely to develop myocarditis after contracting Covid-19 than those who have been vaccinated.

In Australia, the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) provisionally approved the Moderna vaccine for use in the country on August 9, this year.

The Australian federal government has contracted 25 million doses, which includes 15 million doses of variant-specific versions to be available next year.

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