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Taiwan suspends Pfizer’s second dose Covid vaccine for adolescents over heart risks

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Taiwan health authorities have suspended the administration of second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for 12- to 17-year-olds, citing concerns about an increased risk of heart inflammation.

A panel of experts made the decision to stop giving the injection of the vaccine to teenagers on Wednesday, pending further review, according to Chen Shih-Chung, director of the country’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

Chen Shih-Chung. (Photo internet reproduction)
Chen Shih-Chung. (Photo internet reproduction)

The health authority opted to halt the second jab due to concerns about an increased risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart).

The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said it would suspend the administration of second doses of the inoculation to 12- to 17-year-olds for a two-week period.

During that time, experts from the country’s Centers for Disease Control will examine the 16 cases of myocarditis reported among Taiwanese adolescents who received the shot.

There will be no vaccination of children under 11 until any potential problems with administering a second dose to adolescents are fully understood, Chen added, and international data will also be considered.

The CECC director noted that Hong Kong and the United Kingdom are the only countries that do not vaccinate 12- to 17-year-olds with double doses.

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