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Updated October 9th, 2021 at 16:26 IST

Iceland halts use of Moderna's COVID vaccine amid concerns over heart-inflammation risk

Iceland's chief epidemiologist decided to suspend the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine citing growing concerns over risks of heart inflammation.

Anurag Roushan
Iceland
Image: AP | Image:self
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In a key development, Iceland on Friday, October 8, decided to halt the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine citing growing concerns over risks of heart inflammation. According to a statement published on the website of the Health Directorate, the country's chief epidemiologist decided to suspend the use of the Moderna vaccine stating that the vaccination will not be hampered as the supply of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is sufficient in the territory. This decision was made at a time when more than 88% of the eligible population, aged 12 and above, have already been fully inoculated. 

Iceland had been almost exclusively administering the additional doses of Moderna vaccines to locals. Additional doses of Janssen, a single-dose serum made by Johnson & Johnson, were also used in the country for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Even patients who were already inoculated with the first two doses of another vaccine were given these doses, as per the country's Health Directorate reports. Earlier in June, Iceland became the first country in Europe to put an end to all COVID-19 curbs for vaccinated tourists.

Nordic countries halt use of Moderna's COVID vaccine

It should be mentioned here that prior to Iceland, Nordic countries including Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland suspended the use of Moderna's COVID vaccine citing increased risk of side effects such as inflammation of the cardiac muscle or the pericardium. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare stated that the shot will not be given to males under the age of 30. Sweden has banned the use of Moderna for those under the age of 30. Meanwhile, Denmark has stated that the Swiss-made vaccine will not be supplied to anyone under the age of 18, and Norway advised those under the age of 30 to acquire the Pfizer vaccine instead, according to a report by The Associated Press (AP). 

Despite the fact that the number of cases of heart inflammation is still fairly low, research from the Nordic countries suggests that taking Moderna shots may increase the risk of heart inflammation. The COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna was approved for children aged 12 to 17 by the European Medicines Agency in July, marking the first time the vaccine had been licenced for people under the age of 18. Moderna's vaccine was licenced by the 27-nation European Union in January for use in anyone aged 18 and above. It was also given the licence in countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, however, it has not been yet made available to children, reported The AP.

Image: AP

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Published October 9th, 2021 at 16:26 IST

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