A story on The Washington Post’s website late Thursday said federal officials are investigating reports that the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 may be linked to a higher risk of myocarditis or heart inflammation in young adults than previously thought.
The Post cited anonymous sources who are not authorized to speak about the investigation being conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The U.S. is using data from Canada, the Post said, that suggests that young people, especially males “below the age of 30 or so” who were inoculated with the Moderna vaccine face a higher risk for myocarditis than those who received the Pfizer vaccine.
The Post account also said FDA and CDC officials are also “scrutinizing data from the United States to try to determine whether there is evidence of an increased risk in the U.S. population.”
In June, federal officials acknowledged a “likely association” between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and myocarditis in adolescents and young people, the newspaper reported.
The myocarditis side effect of Moderna is “extremely rare” and is “still very uncommon,” the report said.
Federal officials have warned that COVID-19 poses a greater risk of heart inflammation and other catastrophic medical conditions than do either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, the Post reported.
Australia reported record-high numbers of COVID-19 cases in two of its most heavily populated states Thursday, prompting new lockdowns.
New South Wales, the most populous state, reported 681 cases in a 24-hour span.
Victoria reported 57 new infections in Melbourne, its capital. The city has entered its sixth lockdown of the pandemic as Australia battles new surges of the delta variant.
On Wednesday, 747 new cases were confirmed — a record high for the country.
Roughly 22% of Australians are fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
While many countries struggle to get one shot in the arms of their citizens, others have announced programs to provide booster shots to their most vulnerable populations.
Israel, which began administering booster shots to those over 60 in July, announced Thursday that all teachers and anyone over age 40 would be eligible for booster shots.
The announcement comes a day after the United States said it would begin booster shots for vulnerable populations next month.
The announcements defy the World Health Organization's call for a moratorium on booster shot discussions until more of the global population is vaccinated.
In Washington Thursday, three senators announced that they had tested positive for the coronavirus despite being fully vaccinated.
Republican Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Democrat John Hickenlooper of Colorado and independent Angus King of Maine revealed that they had breakthrough infections, and all said they remained confident the vaccine had lessened the severity of their illness.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says it is clear that profits are trumping humanity when vaccine producers make product distribution decisions.
The IFRC statement was a response to a report in The New York Times that said most doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine produced at a plant in South Africa are being exported to Europe.
"We have long been calling for companies to consider manufacturing doses in regions that remain inequitably served of COVID-19 vaccines," said Jagan Chapagain, secretary general of the IFRC. "That they should then be exported to regions that have vaccinated a majority of their population is incomprehensible. The African continent is still the most underserved in terms of receiving doses — barely 2% of people across the region have been vaccinated."
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Friday more than 210 million global infections from the coronavirus and 4.4 million deaths. The center said 4.8 billion vaccines have been administered.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.