Belgium has stopped the rollout of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to Belgians 30-years-old and younger due to the risk of heart inflammation.
According to a Brussels Times report, the country stopped using Moderna’s jab as a primary shot for those younger than 31-years-old in December 2021. Instead, the country began recommending the Pfizer vaccine for initial vaccination despite also being linked to cardiac inflammation.
Following the advice of the country’s Superior Health Council, Moderna vaccines were reallocated for booster doses. Half the standard dose would be injected to Belgians aged between 18 and 30-years-old. Joris Moonens, a spokesman for the country’s care and health agency, said the Moderna vaccine “will be used for the rest of the booster vaccination campaign unless the scientific insights into its use change.”
Gudrun Briat, a spokeswoman for Belgium’s vaccination task force, said the move was based on research showing a higher risk of cardiac inflammation. She told Brussels Times: “The decision for the basic vaccination of 18- to 30-year-olds is based on international knowledge of possible side effects. We took this decision as a precaution.”
She cited international data on the Moderna vaccine’s side effects as factors for the decision. For example, one study in Denmark revealed a higher risk of myocarditis – inflammation of the heart muscle – in young men post-vaccination with either the first or second Moderna dose compared to the Pfizer vaccine. “If there is an alternative vaccine available, it makes more sense not to take any risks,” Briat said.
Belgium’s decision to stop offering the Moderna vaccine for those under 30 followed several Nordic countries halting the vaccine over concerns regarding heart inflammation.
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