PARIS, Nov. 9 (Reuters) – The French public health authority has recommended that people under 30 receive Pfizer’s (PFE.N) Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine when available instead of Moderna Inc’s (MRNA.O) Spikevax shot, which relatively higher risks of heart-related problems.
The Haute Autorite de Sante (HAS), which has no legal authority to ban or license drugs but acts as a consultant to the French health sector, cited “very rare” risks associated with myocarditis, a heart disease, which had surfaced in recent data on the Moderna vaccine and in a French study published on Monday.
“Within the population under 30, this risk appears to be about five times smaller with Pfizer’s Comirnaty shot compared to Moderna’s Spikevax shot,” HAS said in its opinion published Monday.
The Paris decision came after regulators in several other countries, including Canada, Finland and Sweden, also took a more defensive stance on Spikevax over heart-related safety concerns in younger people. read more
The European Union’s drug regulator EMA last month approved Moderna’s booster vaccine for all age groups over 18, at least six months after the second dose. read more
The EMA said earlier this year it had found a possible link between the very rare inflammatory heart disease and COVID-19 vaccines from both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines.
However, according to the EMA, the benefits of both mRNA injections in preventing COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks, the regulator said, echoing similar views from US regulators and the World Health Organization. read more
France’s HAS said its recommendation, which would apply as the first, second or third “booster” dose regardless of the vaccine’s use, would be valid until more scientific findings on the matter are known.
However, for individuals over the age of 30, the authority explicitly recommended the use of the Moderna vaccine, as its effectiveness was slightly superior.
Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Susan Fenton and Louise Heavens
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