Rare reports of heart inflammation in people who have received the Modern COVID vaccine have triggered measures from health authorities in several Nordic countries – which has prompted discussion on social media.
On October 9, Twitter user ‘@pdubdev’, whose cinema describes them as a “bold advocate for personal freedom”, said a number of countries had banned the Modern vaccine, known as Spikevax.
The user wrote: “Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland have all banned the Modern vaccine. Not a word from the FDA.”
Tweet has since proven to be popular and has received more than 15,000 likes and almost 5,000 retweets as of 10 EDT on October 13.
The tweet seems to refer to measures taken by the health authorities in these countries among reports that the Modern vaccine may pose an increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis – inflammation of the heart muscle and inflammation of the outer mucous membrane of the heart.
The risk for this is very small, according to the Swedish Ministry of Health.
The tweet indicates that there has been a direct Modern vaccination ban in the mentioned countries. It’s not true.
Sweden has decided to pause – not ban – the use of the Modern vaccine in a part of its population, namely people born in 1991 or later. The observed conditions for myocarditis and pericarditis after vaccination are most common among young men. It cited preliminary analyzes from Swedish and Nordic data sources.
The suspension is only valid until 1 December this year, at the time of writing.
Norway issued its own statement on October 6, recommending that people aged 12 to 17 should have Pfizer’s Comirnaty vaccine and not the Moderna Spikevax shot. It added that men under the age of 30 should “consider choosing Comirnaty” when vaccinated, but both Modern and Pfizer “are still recommended for those over the age of 30.”
“The Nordic registry study looking at the incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis has not been completed and has therefore not yet been published and final conclusions can not yet be drawn from this study,” it added. “The side effect is rare and the absolute risk is still low.”
On 11 October, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) issued a statement with its own instructions, stating that boys and men under the age of 30 should only be offered the Pfizer Comirnaty COVID vaccine. The decision will be reviewed in November.
It cited preliminary results of a Nordic study that found that the incidence of myocarditis is higher in the Modern vaccine than the Pfizer vaccine, although such effects from COVID vaccines are “rare overall”.
It added that the Modern vaccine can be given “to all women aged 30 or older and also to women under 30.”
Iceland released a statement indicating that it is taking the longest action regarding the Modern vaccine from all the countries mentioned.
The country’s health directorate said on August 10 that the use of Moderna in the country was low in any case and that “because there is enough Pfizer vaccine … the epidemiologist has decided not to use the Moderna vaccine in Iceland.”
However, in a later statement published on October 12, the directorate issued an update that reads: “In Iceland, Moderna is now used almost exclusively in booster vaccinations and its use will be limited to booster vaccines 60 years and older until further notice.”
Denmark has also suspended use for people under the age of 18 as a precautionary measure, Reuters reported on October 6.
FACTS CONTROL OF NEWSWEEK
The modern vaccine has not been banned in Finland, Sweden, Norway or Iceland.
Its use has been restricted to certain age groups in these countries while more data becomes available.
This is due to fears that its use is linked to rare cases of inflammation of the heart muscle and inflammation of the outer edge of the heart.
But the health authorities have emphasized that such a risk is low.
Update 13/10/2021, 11:35 ET: The title of this article has been updated to change Denmark to Finland.