CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan to receive 450,000 Moderna vaccine doses for under-6s next week

07/02/2022 07:49 PM
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CNA photo July 2, 2022
CNA photo July 2, 2022

Taipei, July 2 (CNA) Taiwan will take delivery of 450,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine next week for use in vaccinating 900,000 children aged between 6 months and 5 years, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday.

CECC Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told reporters that the vaccine rollout for this age group was expected to start around mid-July, pending testing of the shipment.

The first batch of Moderna vaccines for young children was originally scheduled to be delivered on June 30 but was delayed due to a problem with the shipment's documentation, the CECC said.

The CECC has said that the vaccinations for children will be administered at designated hospitals, clinics, and other sites, including some preschools and daycare centers.

According to Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎), convener of Taiwan's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), young children are more at risk of suffering severe illness as a result of catching COVID-19 than developing side effects from the vaccine.

Parents are advised, therefore, to have their young children vaccinated against COVID-19, Lee said, adding that they should consult a doctor if their child develops any severe side effects.

Some common side effects in children 6 months to 5 years old include irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, loss of appetite, fever, and pain or redness at the injection site, according to Lee.

Less common reactions to the vaccine include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, dizziness, increased heart rate, rash, and persistent fever, Lee added.

However, Lee said that the chance of children included in the upcoming rollout developing serious side effects was lower than for adults.

Vaccine recipients may also develop myocarditis and pericarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle and lining, respectively. However, the chance of these reactions in young children is very low, Lee said.

Symptoms of myocarditis and pericarditis typically arise within two weeks of vaccination, and include chest pain, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, and fatigue, Lee said.

One dose of a Moderna vaccine for children between 6 months and 5 years old is 0.25 milliliters, which contains 25 micrograms of the active ingredient mRNA, while the shot for those in the 6 to 11 age group is 0.25ml (50 micrograms mRNA), and for older children and adults it is 0.5ml (100 micrograms mRNA).

According to Lee, the ACIP has recommended that children under 2 years old receive their Moderna shot in the thigh, while those in the 2 to 5 age group get it in their nondominant arm.

Children who had contracted COVID-19 can get the vaccine three months after they first tested positive, Lee said.

To date, 91.32 percent of Taiwan's population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, 83.97 percent have gotten at least two doses, and 70.3 percent have received a booster shot, according to CECC data.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan, Chiang Yi-ching and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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