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COVID-19 VACCINES

Denmark stops offering Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to under-18s

Denmark stops offering Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to under-18sPeople under the age of 18 will no longer be offered the Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna in a precautionary measure, the Danish Health Authority has confirmed.

Denmark has confirmed the withdrawal of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for people under 18 years old, in a precautionary measure.
Denmark has confirmed the withdrawal of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for people under 18 years old, in a precautionary measure.Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Persons aged 12-17 will therefore only receive the Pfizer jab. The decision has been taken based on a “precautionary principle,” the health authority said in a statement.

The Pfizer vaccine has, until now, been the main vaccine type offered to people in the demographic. It will from now on be the only Covid-19 vaccine used for the age range.

The decision was taken “not least in light of the fact that the largest amount of data exists from use (of the Pfizer vaccine) for children and young people from particularly the United States and Israel,” Danish Health Authority head of department Bolette Søborg said in the statement.

Around 1,100 people under the age of 18 in Denmark have been given the Moderna vaccine, according to the authority.

A new Nordic study has assessed the risk of meningitis and myocarditis, both of which are known but very rare side effects of Covid-19 vaccination.

Initial data has raised the possibility of increased risk of myocarditis with the Moderna vaccine.

Symptoms of the condition can include tiredness, irregular pulse, fever, chest pain, pain taking deep breaths and pain on the left hand side or in the centre of the chest, according to a statement on Wednesday by Sweden’s health authority, Folkhälsomyndigheten.

The number of cases recorded is very low, as is the risk of the side effect, the Danish Health Authority said in the statement.

Preliminary data from the Nordic study has been send to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for assessment by its side effects committee.

The Danish Health Authority said it would subsequently follow the assessment from the EMA and decide whether to change current recommendations accordingly.

Sweden’s health authority announced earlier on Wednesday that it would pause the use of the Moderna vaccine for people born after 1991.

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Covid-19: Danish research finds improved protection from updated vaccine

Denmark’s infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute (SSI) says that a second booster or “fourth dose” with an updated form of the Covid-19 vaccine will significantly improve protection against the virus.

Covid-19: Danish research finds improved protection from updated vaccine

The fourth dose will offer markedly better protection than if a person has only received a “third” dose or single booster jab, SSI said in a press statement.

SSI researchers, working with colleagues from the other Nordic countries, have analysed the effect of the additional booster jab with the vaccine, which has been updated in line with newer dominant subvariants of the coronavirus.

When the Danish population was first vaccinated against Covid-19, the vaccines were designed to offer protection against the original form of the virus, SSI writes.

But newer variants have made the original vaccines less effective. The updated vaccines are designed to have the best possible effect against both the original variant as well as the Omicron variant.

There are currently two versions of the updated vaccine. One is adapted towards the BA.1 Omicron subvariant, with another adapted to the BA.4-5 subvariant.

In the Nordic countries, the updated vaccines were offered during autumn 2022 to all persons over the age of 50 in Denmark and Sweden, over 60 in Finland and over 65 in Norway.

A fourth dose with the BA.1-updated version reduced the risk of hospitalisation with Covid-19 by 74 percent and the risk of death by 80 percent compared to the third dose, SSI found.

The BA.4-5 updated version reduced the risk of hospitalisation by 81 percent and the risk of death by 78 percent.

The latter of the two updated versions (BA.4-5) was found to reduce the risk of hospitalisation with Covid-19 by 32 percent compared to the BA-1 version.

“This is maybe not so surprising because BA.4-5 subvariants were dominant in autumn 2022,” SSI head of department Anders Hviid said in the statement.

“But I think we are among the first [countries] to be able to measure this based on the large quantities of data we have available from working across four countries,” he said.

The research was supported by the EU’s European Medicines Agency (EMA).

SSI notes that the frequency of hospitalisation and particularly death due to Covid-19 was very low after both the third and fourth doses of the vaccine.

The academic paper resulting from the study can be read in English here.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s health authority scraps isolation guidelines for Covid-19

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