Taiwan has become the latest country to halt or restrict the use of a Covid-19 vaccine due to concerns over adverse reactions.
On Wednesday, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced the suspension of 2nd doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab for children aged 12-17 over concerns that it may increase the risk of myocarditis, according to Taiwan News. The CECC also said that it would hold off on its decision for those under 12 years-old until the 2nd dose issue is settled.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle which can reduce the heart’s ability to pump, as well as cause abnormal heart rhythms. The mortality rate from this disease is approximately 20% after one year, and 50% at five years. Of course, it has yet to be seen whether Covid-19 or Vaccine-induced myocarditis follows the same risk profile.
According to US statistics, the risk of the condition following the second Pfizer dose is 10x higher than after the first dose.
Taiwan follows Hong Kong in changing their policies regarding Covid-19 vaccines in adolescents, which went from two doses of Pfizer to a single dose for those aged 12-17, while the UK has recommended just one shot for children between 12-18 years of age.
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. -Taiwan News
Meanwhile, Moderna on Thursday said that while its vaccine has fewer breakthrough cases than Pfizer’s offering, it carries a higher risk of myocarditis in young men, according to CNBC.
Reported cases of the rare heart inflammation in men under age 30 are relatively higher after Moderna’s vaccine compared with those who received the shots made by Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Burton told reporters on a call Thursday.
Burton cited data from France on males ages 12 to 29. It showed there were 13.3 cases of myocarditis per 100,000 people for Moderna’s vaccine compared with 2.7 cases per 100,000 people for the Pfizer vaccine.
When it comes to breakthrough cases resulting in mild or severe disease, Moderna has the fewest at 86 breakthroughs per 100,000 people, vs 135 per 100k with Pfizer’s, according to Burton.
Some scientists have suggested that young men are experiencing higher rates of Myocarditis post-vaccination due to testosterone, as well as the fact that Moderna’s vaccine uses a higher concentration of mRNA than Pfizer’s.
“I do think this hypothesis of testosterone is important,” said Burton. “We know that there is indeed some inflammation associated with testosterone. … We do have in the primary series, as you know, 100 micrograms of mRNA, so we have slightly higher levels of spike protein, and that could be a contributing factor as well.”
Remember folks, the vaccines currently being administered are still under emergency use, and if anything goes wrong you can’t sue.