French health authority advises against Moderna vaccine for under 30s

A person holds a vial of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in France
French health authorities worry that the Moderna vaccine could lead to heart problems in young people. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)
The French medical regulator has advised the lifting of the suspension of Moderna's Covid vaccine - but only for over 30s.

The French medical regulator Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) has recommended that the Moderna vaccine should be made available again for boosters and initial jabs – but only for those over 30-years-old.

France suspended the use of Moderna for all population groups on October 15th after a number of Scandinavian countries warned of a possible link between the American-made vaccine and heart inflammation among young people. 

Young men appear particularly vulnerable, according to an as of yet unpublished Nordic study.

A separate French study suggested that the Moderna vaccine was around five times more likely to lead to myocarditis than the Pfizer one (which is currently the most-used brand in France). 

In July, the European Medicines Agency acknowledged that there was a potential link between heart inflammation and both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. But it emphasised that such cases were extremely rare and that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. 

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In a statement on Monday, the HAS said that more data was needed before Moderna vaccines could be ruled as being safe for use by young people.

It did however suggest that among the over-30s, an initial vaccination with the Moderna vaccine offered marginally better protection than the Pfizer alternative. It said that half-doses of the Moderna vaccine would be useful as a booster shot for at-risk groups over 30-years-old. 

While the advice published by the HAS is not legally binding, its research and guidelines help the shape health policy of the French government. 

87.1 percent of the total French population is now fully vaccinated. This steadily growing proportion has helped reduce hospitalisation rates. More than 3 million booster shots have also been administered. 

READ ALSO How can I get my Covid vaccine booster in France? 


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