A bottle of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at the Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on December 23. Moderna's chief medical officer defended its use Thursday after France and several other countries stopped using it for men 30 and under. File Photo by Gary I. Rothstein/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Moderna's chief medical officer on Thursday defended the use of its COVID-19 vaccine despite a higher risk of the rare heart inflammation myocarditis reported in young men.
Dr. Paul Burton said in a call to reporters that more cases of myocarditis were reported in young men who received the Moderna vaccine than those who took the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, but the benefits also were greater.
The Food and Drug Administration said it needed more time to determine if it should authorize the use of Moderna's two-dose vaccine for children ages 12 to 17.
Burton said research from France showed incidents of myocarditis happened in 13.3 cases per 100,000 people using Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine compared with 2.7 cases per 100,000 of those using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
On Wednesday, German regulators recommended against using Moderna's vaccine, due to the heart inflammation risk. Germany's decision follows similar ones in France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
Burton countered with research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that indicated rates of mild to severe disease from the coronavirus happened less frequently in Moderna users than those who use vaccines from Pfizer or the Johnson & Johnson.
The study showed 86 breakthrough cases per 100,000 people who received the Moderna vaccine compared with 135 among Pfizer vaccine recipients. Those unvaccinated had an 11-fold higher risk of dying than those who are vaccinated.
"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," Burton said, according to CNBC. "We believe that the balance of benefit and risk is extremely positive."
So far, more than 71 million U.S. residents have been fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine.