German health authorities on Wednesday advised against the use of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine for people under 30 due to evidence of a small risk of cardiac inflammation.
The Stiko vaccine commission cited studies showing that mRNA jabs led in rare cases to the conditions myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart) in younger patients, with slightly higher prevalence in those who received Moderna.
“For people above the age of 30 there is no higher risk,” it added.
As a result, the Stiko updated its coronavirus vaccine guidance and “recommends that people under 30 only be vaccinated with Comirnaty,” the BioNTech-Pfizer jab, one day after France issued similar guidance.
The advisory covers both initial inoculations and booster jabs even if the first vaccine was Moderna, it added.
The Stiko bases its recommendations on the findings of Germany’s Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines, which compiles data on side effects and complications.
The US has also delayed approval of the Moderna jab for young people, though last week they recommended use of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages five to 11 after reviewing the risks of myocarditis.
Paediatric cardiologist Matthew Oster, commenting on the Pfizer recommendation at the time, said he was “much more worried” about the risks of Covid to young people than risks posed by the vaccine.