CORONAVIRUS/Committee advises 2nd vaccine dose for 12-17 age group, booster shots

A government committee has recommended that those in the 12-17 age group receive a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and that certain at-risk groups get a third COVID-19 booster shot, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Monday.

Taiwan's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that "those aged 12-17 who have already gotten their first Pfizer-BioNTech shot and did not experience severe side effects get a second shot of the same brand," according to a CECC statement.

The two shots should be spaced at least 12 weeks apart, according to the ACIP.

The ACIP put forward their recommendations after a meeting Sunday, during which they analyzed the risks of COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death in adolescents, as well as reported cases of myocarditis and pericarditis among vaccine recipients in Taiwan and in other countries.

Cases of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, inflammation of the outer lining of the heart, have been reported worldwide in recipients of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines such as those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Although rare, the two diseases have occurred more frequently in adolescent males after receiving a second vaccine dose, according to the World Health Organization.

The ACIP concluded in its meeting that even though cases of myocarditis and pericarditis could be linked to the vaccine, those aged 12-17 should still get two shots considering the greater threat COVID-19 poses.

Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently on offer to those in the 12-17 age group in Taiwan. The first-dose rollout for this age group began on Sept. 22.

Based on the ACIP's suggestions, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (???) said Monday that the CECC would arrange for 12-17-year-olds to receive their second vaccine shot in schools from mid-December.

As was the case with the first dose, those in the age group will have to present a consent form signed by a parent before they can get a vaccine shot, Chen said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel