Iceland halts Moderna jabs over heart-inflammation fears

Moderna. AFP-Yonhap via The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

Reykjavik, Iceland — Iceland on Friday suspended the Moderna anti-COVID vaccine, citing the slight increased risks of cardiac inflammation, going further than its Nordic neighbors which simply limited the use of the jabs.

“As the supply of Pfizer vaccine is sufficient in the territory … the chief epidemiologist has decided not to use the Moderna vaccine in Iceland,” said a statement published on the website of the Health Directorate.

This decision owed to “the increased incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis after vaccination with the Moderna vaccine, as well as with vaccination using Pfizer/BioNTech,” the chief epidemiologist said in a statement.

For the past two months, Iceland has been administering an additional dose “almost exclusively” of the Moderna vaccine to Icelanders vaccinated with Janssen, a single-dose serum marketed by America’s Johnson & Johnson, as well as to elderly and immunocompromised people who received two doses of another vaccine.

This will not affect the vaccination campaign on the island of 370,000 inhabitants, where 88 percent of the population over 12 years old is already fully vaccinated.

Since Thursday, Sweden and Finland have also suspended the use of the Moderna vaccine but only for those under 30, because of a risk of inflammation of the myocardium, the heart muscle, and the pericardium, the membrane covering the heart.

Denmark and Norway have formally advised against it for those under 18.

According to Swedish authorities, most of these inflammations are benign and pass on their own, but it is recommended medical advice be sought should symptoms occur.

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