Moderna on Thursday said its COVID-19 vaccine offers better protection against so-called breakthrough cases than its rival Pfizer’s jab, but also said that more cases of heart inflammation have been seen in people who received its shot.
“A small increase in cases of myocarditis is seen with mRNA-1273 compared to BNT162b2 in males 12–29 years of age,” a slide shown during a press briefing held by the company stated.
Moderna’s shot is called mRNA-1272; BNT162b2 is the one from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.
Myocarditis is a form of heart inflammation that has been seen across the world in some people who received the Moderna or Pfizer jabs.
“Some health authorities have noted a slightly increased risk of myocarditis when compared to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and that equates to about 10 additional cases in every 100,000 people who would be vaccinated,” Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told reporters, according to Endpoint News.
A Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center analysis (pdf) presented to a U.S. vaccine advisory panel last month showed that there have been approximately 13 excess cases of myocarditis after the second shot of the Moderna primary series in 18- to 39-year-olds when compared to Pfizer’s jab.
“Head-to-head comparisons provide evidence that the risk of myocarditis/pericarditis was higher after Moderna than after Pfizer,” stated a slide shown during the meeting.
The Moderna dosing level is higher than Pfizer’s and each dose contains a higher amount of messenger RNA, two facts health experts have said may contribute to the higher number of heart inflammation cases.
Burton claimed the myocarditis largely resolves without medical intervention and speculated that the higher rates seen in men versus women may be due to testosterone.
Moderna’s vaccine is authorized in many Western countries but has been paused recently by health authorities in multiple European nations for younger persons due to the elevated heart inflammation risk.
Moderna officials previously said a review of the company’s global safety database did not indicate an elevated risk of post-vaccination heart inflammation. They’re now saying an elevated risk has been detected, but that they believe the benefits of the shot still outweigh its risks, echoing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
While American drug regulators declined last month to stop the administration of Moderna’s shot to youth following suspensions in Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, they did delay a decision on whether to clear the vaccine for children between 12 and 17.
Dr. Hanna Nohynek, chief physician of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s Unit Infectious Diseases Control and Vaccines, told The Epoch Times that the FDA’s decision was justified by the incidence of post-vaccination heart inflammation.
“They most likely just want to see the data more carefully and weigh the pros and cons. I think that’s what the regulatory authorities should be doing,” she said.