Health authority says Denmark has not withdrawn Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from under-18s

The Danish Health Authority confirmed on Friday that it is still allowing people aged 12-17 to receive the Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna. The authority earlier this week stated this was not the case.

The Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines are available to all eligible age groups in Denmark. Denmark has corrected an earlier statement and said it will continue to give the Moderna vaccine to under-1$8s if they request it.
Denmark has corrected an earlier statement and said it will continue to give the Moderna vaccine to under-1$8s if they request it. Photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

On Wednesday, the authority stated that people under the age of 18 would no longer be offered the Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna in a precautionary measure.

But this is not the case, with the incorrect information due to an “unclear formulation”, which has since been updated.

If a person in the 12-17 age group wants to receive the Moderna vaccine, they can request it, the health authority said in a revised statement. Unlike the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines, Moderna is still available in Denmark’s mainstream vaccination programme for the age group.

Around 1,100 people aged under 18 have been given the Moderna vaccine, according to information released by the Danish Health Authority.

The vaccine is easier to transport than the equivalent from Pfizer/BioNTech and has therefore been used on islands and by some mobile vaccination units.

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

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

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

“In Denmark, we have not seen more cases of myocarditis or any apparent difference between the two vaccines in the Danish vaccination programme,” Danish Health Authority head of department Bolette Søborg said.

“Both are extremely effective and we see few, and in the vast majority of cases mild and well-known side effects,” Søborg added.

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.

Symptoms of myocarditis 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 this week by Sweden’s health authority, Folkhälsomyndigheten. The Swedish health authority announced on Wednesday that it would pause the use of the Moderna vaccine for people born after 1991.

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Covid-19: Denmark decides against additional booster this winter

No additional booster vaccination against Covid-19 will be offered this winter, the Danish Health Authority confirmed on Wednesday.

Covid-19: Denmark decides against additional booster this winter

Together with an expert advisory group, the Health Authority has considered whether to offer vulnerable groups an extra booster vaccination against Covid-19 this winter.

People at higher risk of serious illness with the virus including those over the age of 85 will not be offered a further booster this winter, the authority has decided.

Denmark offered a booster in autumn 2022 to all people over the age of 50 and younger people considered vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The booster was backed up by data suggesting it improves protection against hospitalisation with Covid-19 by 74 percent, according to the Danish Health Authority.

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

Infection numbers in Denmark are currently low.

“We have the highest vaccine uptake in Europe and the vaccines have proved to be effective, including for the elderly and most vulnerable. We are in a good place in the Covid-19 epidemic. We can only be pleased about this,” head of section and consultant physician Kirstine Moll Harboe said in the statement.

The health authority nevertheless expects immunity and effectiveness of vaccines to fall over time and will therefore develop a plan for a new booster vaccination campaign to take place in the autumn.