Moderna defended the use of its Covid-19 vaccine Thursday, saying the protection it offers against severe disease, hospitalization and death outweighs the risk of myocarditis, a rare heart condition seen in a small number of young men who received the shot.
The company announced last week that the Food and Drug Administration needed more time to decide whether to authorize its two-dose vaccine for use in children ages 12 to 17 as the agency looks into reports of myocarditis, or the inflammation of the heart muscle.
Reported cases of the rare heart inflammation in men under age 30 are relatively higher after Moderna’s vaccine compared with those who received the shots made by Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton told reporters on a call Thursday.
Burton cited data from France on males ages 12 to 29. It showed there were 13.3 cases of myocarditis per 100,000 people for Moderna’s vaccine compared with 2.7 cases per 100,000 people for the Pfizer vaccine.
However, he also touted data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed the rates of mild or severe disease from Covid were lower in Moderna recipients than in those who received Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.
“While I think health authorities are carefully assessing the data, being appropriately cautious, you can see that they continue to recommend the use of the mRNA-1273 Moderna vaccine,” he said on the call. “We believe that the balance of benefit and risk is extremely positive,” he added.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.