Several countries have begun to emerge from their latest waves driven by Omicron, the most transmissible strain to date, even though global new cases are still rising. Photograph:( AFP )
1.1 million people aged between 12-17 have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Taiwan
Taiwan’s health minister Chen Shih-chung has said that they are suspending second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) Covid vaccine to children in the 12-17 age group amid concerns that it may increase the risk of myocarditis.
He said that a panel of experts will review the data on cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) and will decide on the further course of action in two weeks, according to local Taiwanese media.
“Taiwan's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices had decided to hold off on administering second doses to the 12-17 age group and will meet in two weeks to make a final decision on the matter,” he was quoted as saying.
During these two weeks, experts on the committee will collect and review data on cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in other countries and Taiwan, Chen said.
According to Central Epidemic Command Center spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang, 1.1 million people aged between 12-17 have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Taiwan.
Out of those, 17 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis have been reported. Fourteen of the patients were male and three were female, Chuang said.
Some countries have adjusted their policies regarding administering COVID-19 vaccines to adolescents. For instance, Hong Kong has changed from two doses of BNT to only a single dose for those aged 12-17. The U.K. has done something similar, recommending only one shot for children between 12 and 18 years of age, according to news outlet CNA.
(With inputs from agencies)