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Finland halts Moderna vaccinations for young men over heart inflammation concerns

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, the director of Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare, Mika Salminen, announced Helsinki’s halt on offering Moderna’s Spikevax jab to its younger male population. 

“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 explained. 

Salminen said that while the heart inflammation often went away on its own in a few days, he recommended instead that this demographic be inoculated with Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, marketed as Comirnaty. 

The director also said young male Finns who have had their first dose of Spikevax would receive Comirnaty for their second. He insisted it was still important to get the second dose to get maximum protection against the virus. 

Finland’s decision comes a day after neighboring Sweden suspended the use of Spikevax on all of its population born in 1991 and later after an “increased incidence” of heart inflammation diseases myocarditis and pericarditis following inoculation, especially after the second dose. 

Nordic nation Denmark also paused the use of Spikevax on the same day on similar grounds, although only for minors under age 18.

Geir Bukholm, head of infection control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said on Wednesday that “men under the age of 30 should also consider choosing Comirnaty when they get vaccinated,” as Oslo already recommends Pfizer’s jab for its minors. 

The European Medicines Agency in July published findings urging heart conditions myocarditis and pericarditis to be added to the list of potential rare side effects of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna after reviewing over 300 incidences across the European Economic Area. According to the medicinal regulatory body, these cases represent only a minute number, however.

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