The High Authority of Health of France decided on Friday not to inject the vaccine developed by Moderna for the country’s booster vaccination campaign. RFI examines the reasons for the move.
Only Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is now used for the booster campaign for people over 65, immunocompromised people and their families, people at risk and health workers.
If Moderna had been used so far, the health authority (HAS) has not questioned its use “so as not to disrupt the current campaign”.
Friday’s decision comes as Scandinavian countries signaled concerns about potential heart risks.
Earlier this month, Sweden and Finland suspended the use of Moderna for those under 30.
Denmark and Norway have formally advised against Moderna for people under the age of 18, while Iceland has completely suspended the use of the US lab’s messenger RNA vaccine as a booster dose.
This follows concerns about the possible risk of inflammation of the myocardium, heart muscle and pericardium, the membrane covering the heart.
According to Swedish authorities, most of these inflammations are mild and pass on their own, but medical advice is recommended if symptoms appear.
In a statement, the HAS declared: “In any case, these [myocarditis and pericarditis] remain rare and resolve spontaneously in almost all cases. “
No green light from EMA
Usually, the High Authority of Health awaits the opinion of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) before deciding on the administration of a vaccine in France.
The European regulator must make its decision on the use of Moderna as a booster at the end of October.
Speaking to the weekly Le Journal de Dimanche, HAS President Dominique Le Guludec said: “This will determine the target population for these injections and the amount of product needed.
Also for the authority, there is no reason to take an emergency decision on the use of Moderna as a booster dose since health indicators in France remain positive.
According to figures from Public Health France as of October 16, the number of hospitalizations is down, with 6,437 people hospitalized due to Covid-19.
On average, 4,679 new cases were registered during the previous seven days.
This is in line with the objective set by Emmanuel Macron in his speech of November 24, 2020 to lift the conditions of the confinement at the time and to control the spread of the epidemic.
Supply and demand
Since France can count on the delivery of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it can wait its hour before Moderna’s recalls can be accepted on the market.
France has reportedly received 1.2 million doses of Pfizer this week.
In all countries where the Moderna vaccine has been suspended, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has taken over.
Since the start of the campaign, 74% of the French population has been fully vaccinated.