Taiwan halts 2nd-dose BioNTech vaccinations for ages 12-17 amid concerns of myocarditis

CECC says approval of COVID vaccines for children under 12 will not be
considered until 2nd dose issue settled
By George Liao • November 10, 2021

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-
chung (陳時中) said on Wednesday (Nov. 10) that a panel of experts has decided to
suspend administering second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) COVID vaccine to
children 12-17 years old amid concerns it may increase the risk of myocarditis.

Cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of
the outer lining of the heart) have been reported after BNT vaccination of children
between 12 and 17 years of age. According to U.S. statistics, the risk of youths
experiencing myocarditis after receiving the second BNT dose is 10 times higher than
after the first dose, CNA reported.

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, per CNA.

Chen said that the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee for Immunization
Practices (ACIP) has decided to halt administration of second BNT doses to this age
group for two weeks, during which time experts and Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
physicians will look at the 16 cases of myocarditis among adolescents after BNT
vaccination before making a final decision on whether to go ahead with the second shot.

International data will also be consulted before the final decision is made, the CECC head
said, adding that currently, children between the ages of 12-17 are being vaccinated with
two doses worldwide except in Hong Kong and the U.K.

As for whether COVID-19 vaccines will be approved for children aged 5-11, Chen said the
matter will not be considered until the second dose issue with 12 to 17-year-olds is