Sweden's Public Health Agency has suspended the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 30 and under, citing concerns over side effects primarily seen among the younger population.
In a statement Wednesday, the Swedish health agency referred to "signals of an increased risk of side effects such as inflammation of the heart muscle or the pericardium" — the thin sac that surrounds the heart and the roots of its main blood vessels. "The risk of being affected is very small," the agency stated.
Sweden's chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, said that they "follow the situation closely and act quickly to ensure that vaccinations against COVID-19 are always as safe as possible and at the same time provide effective protection."
U.S. and European regulators have cautioned that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been linked to side effects of chest pain and heart inflammation in teenagers and young adults, most commonly among males.
New preliminary analyses indicate that the connection is especially clear when it comes to Moderna's vaccine, particularly after the second dose, Sweden's Public Health Agency said. "The increase in risk is seen within four weeks after the vaccination, mainly within the first two weeks," it said.
The Swedish agency said it recommends the Pfizer vaccine for these age groups instead. Its current decision to suspend the Moderna vaccine is valid until Dec. 1.
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