Germany’s vaccine panel advises against Moderna jab for under-30s

A young person receives a Covid jab in Stuttgart.
A young person receives a Covid jab in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat
Germany's vaccine advisory panel says people under the age of 30 should only be vaccinated against Covid-19 with BioNTech/Pfizer.

The Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) advised against the use of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine for people under 30 due to evidence of a small risk of cardiac inflammation. 

The 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.

STIKO said that people over the age of 30, however, have no increased risk of heart issues after being vaccinated with Moderna.

As a result, STIKO updated its draft 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.

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STIKO said it also recommends that pregnant women – regardless of their age – only receive the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine as well.

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In their statement, the vaccine advisory board said that the recommendations apply to first and second jabs, as well as booster shots.

The vaccine board 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.

STIKO has previously said that the benefits of vaccinations for 12-17-year-olds “outweigh the risk of very rare vaccine side effects”.

The vaccine panel will send their draft decision to experts and German states for approval. 


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