Iceland on Friday stopped the use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, citing reports of a slight increase in cardiac inflammation.
"As the supply of Pfizer vaccine is sufficient in the territory ... the chief epidemiologist has decided not to use the Moderna vaccine in Iceland," health officials published on Iceland's Health Directorate website, reports Medical Express.
Sweden and Finland a day prior suspended the use of the Moderna vaccine, but just for people under 30, because of the risk of inflammation in the heart muscle, or myocardium, and the pericardium, or the membrane that covers the heart.
Swedish authorities said most of the inflammations are benign and eventually heal on their own, but still recommended medical advice if symptoms occur.
Iceland's chief epidemiologist said in a statement the country's decision also concerned "the increased incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis after vaccination with the Moderna vaccine, as well as with vaccination using Pfizer/BioNTech."
Iceland in recent months has been using an additional dose of the Moderna vaccine as a booster for residents who have been vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine, as well as for older and immunocompromised people who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
The halt isn't expected to hinder the vaccination efforts in Iceland, where 88% of the population of people over the age of 12 are already fully vaccinated. The island nation has approximately 370,000 residents.
Meanwhile, the countries of Denmark and Norway have formally advised against the use of Moderna's vaccine for people under the age of 18.
The Scandinavian countries of Finland, Sweden, and Denmark said they made their decisions to either stop or suspend the vaccine after an unpublished study conducted by the Swedish Public Health Agency said Moderna's version signals a "very small" risk of cardiac inflammation.
Information from the study has been sent to the European Medicine Agency's adverse reaction committee, where it will be examined.
The study was conducted by the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark, which maps the spread of COVID-19 in the country, as well as the Medical Products Agency in Sweden; Norway's National Institute of Public Health; and Finland's Institute for Health and Welfare. The final results of the assessment are expected to be finished in about a month, according to officials.
Moderna's vaccine was approved across the European Union for people 18 and older in January, and in July, the European Medicines Agency recommended clearing the shot for children ages 12 to 17, marking the first time worldwide it was cleared for anyone under 18. Canada has also approved its use for patients as young as 12.
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