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Moderna Defends Covid Vaccine Against Myocarditis Issue

Moderna says its Covid vaccine's prevention of harsh disease, hospitalization and death makes up for the risk of myocarditis.
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Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report stood up for its Covid-19 vaccine Thursday, saying its prevention of harsh disease, hospitalization and death makes up for the risk of myocarditis.

Only a small number of young men who received the vaccine contracted myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle, Moderna Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Burton told reporters on a Thursday call, according to CNBC.

Last week, Moderna said the Food and Drug Administration needed more time to decide whether to authorize its vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 17. That’s because the FDA is assessing the myocarditis issue.

Burton said data from France on males aged 12 to 29 showed more cases of myocarditis for Moderna’s vaccine than the one produced by Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report and BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Report.

But Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showed fewer cases of mild or severe Covid symptoms for Moderna recipients than for Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report recipients, he said.

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“We believe that the balance of benefit and risk is extremely positive.”

Moderna recently traded at $223.96, down 2.2%. It has doubled this year amid investor enthusiasm for its vaccine.

Morningstar analyst Karen Andersen last week kept her fair-value estimate for the stock at $159, after “disappointing” third-quarter results and updated Covid-19 vaccine sales guidance.

“Despite Moderna's massive success with its Covid-19 vaccine, we think the changing competitive landscape, virus evolution, and evolving safety and efficacy of its technology beyond Covid-19 create too many questions to grant the firm an economic moat,” she wrote in a commentary.

“We see [the] shares as overvalued at recent prices.”