Finland halts Moderna vaccinations for young men

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Finnish health authorities said Thursday they would stop giving Moderna's COVID-19 jab to young men, following the example of Nordic neighbours, over fears of heart inflammation side effects.

The announcement comes after neighbouring Sweden, Norway and Denmark announced similar adjustments to vaccine policies on Wednesday.

The countries cited reports of an increased risk of inflammation of the (myocarditis) and inflammation of the pericardium (pericarditis), especially for young men and in the weeks following the second dose.

"A Nordic study involving Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark has found that men who have received the Moderna Spikevax, men under 30 years of age, have a slightly higher risk than others of developing myocarditis," Mika Salminen, director of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) told a press conference.

Salminen added that "most of these myocarditis cases are mild and transient, healing by themselves with a few days of follow-up, but there is a risk".

Noting that other vaccines were available, the THL recommended that, as a precautionary measure, Moderna's jab "should not be given to men and boys under 30 years of age for the time being."

Like in its Nordic neighbours, THL said that young men were instead recommended for the rival Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

The Swedish Medical Products Agency said in a statement Wednesday that the analysis of the side effects were preliminary and that analysis was "ongoing."

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorised the emergency use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for teens in July.

© 2021 AFP

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