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Moderna banned in Nordic countries. Photo credit: Ian Hutchinson
Stockholm

Breaking: Sweden, Denmark, Finland ban Moderna citing risk of myocarditis

Citing serious cardiac problems, including myocarditis and pericarditis, the Swedish Public Health Agency announced on Wednesday that it was recommending use of the Moderna vaccine be discontinued in young people born after 1991.  Denmark as well as Finland issued a similar ban for people aged 12-17 in the same week.

Published: October 7, 2021, 1:56 pm

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    “The Swedish Public Health Agency has decided to suspend the use of Moderna’s vaccine Spikevax, for everyone born in 1991 and later, for precautionary reasons,” the Agency declared on Wednesday. “The cause is signals of an increased risk of side effects such as inflammation of the heart muscle or heart sac.”

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned about the risk of developing heart inflammation from the Moderna and Pfizer jabs in June this year. Myocarditis is a condition that causes the swelling of the heart muscle and can cause difficulty breathing, heart failure, and death.

    “New preliminary [analysis] from Swedish and Nordic data sources indicate that the connection is especially clear when it comes to Moderna’s vaccine Spikevax, especially after the second dose,” the statement noted. “The increase in risk is seen within four weeks after the vaccination, mainly within the first two weeks.”

    The agency concluded that they had “decided to recommend a break for all use of Spikevax for people born in 1991 and later. […] The decision is valid until 1 December 2021. The Swedish Public Health Agency will return with a notice of recommendation after this date.”

    On the same day, the Danish Health Authority issued a similar warning: “In the preliminary data … there is a suspicion of an increased risk of heart inflammation, when vaccinated with Moderna,” even if “heart inflammation is an extremely rare side effect that often has a mild course and goes away on its own”.

    In April, Denmark permanently banned AstraZeneca jabs after it was determined that the injections caused deadly blood clots.

    Finland is the third Scandinavian country to impose new restrictions on the Moderna shot. On Thursday, the government announced that the injection will be banned for younger males due to the risk of rare but harmful side effects, including heart inflammation.

    The director of Finland’s health institute said men born in 1991 or later will be vaccinated with Pfizer instead. Mika Salminen, the director of Finland’s health institute, explained that the new restrictions were based on data collected in a Nordic study.

    “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 the Nordic study would be published within the next coming weeks.

    Preliminary data was also made available to the EU medicines regulator, the EMA, for further assessment. In July the EMA had warned that heart inflammation had been detected in younger male jab recipients.

    Despite this, Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza told reporters on Thursday that his country would not suspend the use of Moderna, urging European countries to “work together more closely to coordinate better”.

    In July this year, a study published in JAMA’s Cardiology Journal, revealed that 23 male soldiers (including 22 who were deemed “previously healthy”) between the ages of 20 and 51 presented “acute onset of marked chest pain” within four days of receiving their second jab. Several US soldiers treated in the military health-care system following the injection were subsequently diagnosed with clinical myocarditis.

    Sadly, they were all “physically fit by military standards and lacking any known history of cardiac disease, significant cardiac risk factors, or exposure to cardiotoxic agents” before their vaccine injuries.

    These diagnosed cases had all submitted to full electrocardiographic and echocardiography tests. Abnormal electrocardiography findings were recorded in 19 patients (83 percent).

    The cardiac symptoms faded within a week of onset for some, but at least a third of them continued to have chest discomfort.

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