On Thursday, Oct 7, Finland decided to limit the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine among younger males due to reports of a rare cardiovascular side effect, joining Sweden and Denmark that announced a pause of the use of the vaccine on Wednesday.
Director of the Finnish health institute, Mika Salminen, said men born in 1991 or later would now be administered Pfizer’s vaccine. Finland is currently offering an inoculation to all people over the age of 12.
“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,” Salminen said.
On Wednesday, Norwegian health officials reiterated that they recommended men under the age of 30 receive Pfizer’s vaccine.
The study driving the recent decisions is expected to be published within the next few weeks and preliminary data has been sent to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for further assessment, Reuters reported.
Late on Wednesday a spokesperson for Moderna who was aware of the recent decisions said, “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.”
Shares of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) fell 9 percent on Wednesday following the decisions while Pfizer stock (NYSE:PFE) rose nearly 1 percent in Thursday’s premarket trading.
Pfizer is currently seeking emergency authorization for use of its COVID-19 vaccine on children aged 5-11. The company has proposed administering children one-third of the adult dosage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tentatively scheduled a meeting for October 26 to consider the request.