The health ministry has decided to let men under 30 who received Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine for their first shot switch to Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine for their second.

The decision, made Friday during a meeting of experts, took into account the higher incidence of heart muscle inflammation in young people who received the Moderna shot than those who were given the Pfizer inoculation.

At the meeting, some experts had argued that Pfizer’s vaccine also causes inflammation and demanded the ministry make efforts to prevent the perception that the Moderna shot is inferior.

The members eventually agreed to allow males under the age of 30 to switch to the Pfizer vaccine in exceptional cases and on condition they provide necessary information. They will also be required to have a four-week interval between their first and second shots.

According to the ministry, the rate of heart muscle inflammation stood at 28.83 per 1 million for males age 10 and 19 who received the Moderna shots by Oct. 3 and 25.65 for men in their 20s. Among those who had the Pfizer shot, the incidence came to 3.69 for males age 10 to 19 and 9.62 for men in their 20s.

At the meeting, experts also reaffirmed that the risk of the coronavirus triggering heart disease is much higher than the risk associated with the Moderna vaccine.

The move comes after Sweden halted use of the Moderna shot last week for people born in 1991 or later, citing a study that showed a higher risk of inflammation of the heart muscle, a condition called myocarditis, among young people given the shot. Finland has also paused use of the Moderna jab in men born in 1991 or later.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.