Taiwan is to begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) COVID-19 vaccine to high-school students on Wednesday, and the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has advised that strenuous exercise be avoided for two weeks after innoculation.
Recipients should watch for symptoms of myocarditis and pericarditis — inflammation of the heart muscle and outer lining of the heart respectively — within 28 days of the BNT vaccination, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said on Sunday.
Symptoms include pain, pressure or tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart, fainting and a lower tolerance for exercise, Chen said.
People who experience such symptoms should seek prompt medical attention and tell doctors when they were vaccinated.
Concerns over the side effects of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, such as the BNT vaccine, were raised after reports that some young adults developed heart problems after getting the jabs.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last month that the risk of myocarditis is 18.5 cases per 1 million second doses of the BNT vaccine in people aged 18 to 24, considered to be the group most at risk.
The BNT vaccine is still the only COVID-19 vaccine that was demonstrated by phase 3 trials to be effective and safe for participants aged as young as 12.
The BNT vaccine has been authorized for use in Taiwan for people aged 12 years or older.
Taiwan is scheduled to begin administering the vaccine on Wednesday, with people aged 12 to 17 first in priority.
Students at junior or senior high-schools have the choice of receiving the vaccine either at their school or a hospital.
The health department in each municipality is to arrange vaccine clinics on school campuses for students.
Those who opt not to take the vaccine at school can make other arrangements on the 1922.gov.tw vaccine registration platform, the CECC said.
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