Belgium has stopped giving Moderna’s mRNA Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to people under the age of 31 following the advice of the Superior Health Council, which oversees the use of medical products approved for use in the country.
Belgian public health officials cited Danish studies that indicate “vaccination with Moderna resulted in an increased risk of inflammation of the heart muscle in men between the ages of 12 and 39 following the first or second dose.
Gudrun Briat, spokesperson for Belgium’s vaccination task force, claimed despite evidence to the contrary that heart inflammation, or myocarditis, is usually “harmless and goes away without being noticed.” She added that the ban on giving young adults Moderna’s vaccine just “makes more sense,” since Belgian public health authorities do not want to take any risks. (Related: Risk of heart inflammation is higher from Moderna vaccine than from COVID-19 among people under 40.)
“The decision for the basic vaccination of 18- to 30-year-olds is based on international knowledge of possible side effects that are very rare. We took this decision as a precaution,” claimed Briat.
Briat said that people who were previously vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine should not worry, especially if it has been a while since the vaccination. She claimed symptoms typically present themselves within two months of the shot.
The country will still be providing Moderna vaccinations for adults aged 31 and older, as well as for anyone coming in for booster doses of the vaccine. Joris Moonens, spokesperson for the Agency for Care and Health in Flanders, said this policy is unlikely to change “unless the scientific insights into its use change.”
Belgium is the latest country to limit the use of Moderna’s vaccine following similar studies showing the increased risk of heart inflammation following vaccination.
Back in October, Sweden, Denmark and Finland suspended injections of Moderna’s vaccine. Sweden and Denmark suspended the vaccine for everyone aged 30 and younger while Finland suspended vaccinations just for males aged 30 and under.
Despite clear evidence of the harm caused by COVID-19 vaccines, the Belgian government is still ignoring the science and is instead expanding its vaccination program. The country’s health ministry has recently approved a recommendation to give a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine for people with compromised immune systems.
Public Health Minister Christie Morreale said on Monday, Jan. 24, that she and her regional counterparts have approved the proposal proposed by the health council, but she did not provide a date for when the fourth dose vaccination program will begin.
Around 77 percent of Belgium’s population of nearly 11.5 million are already fully vaccinated. Around 6.3 million Belgians have already received a booster dose of the vaccine.
Despite these figures, the country still has thousands of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including nearly 400 people confined in intensive care units. At least 29,000 people in Belgium have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
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