According to a health experts panel advising the Hong Kong government, children aged between 12 and 17 years should only receive one dose of the BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) COVID-19 vaccine. The panel’s recommendation comes at the back of reports that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine causes heart inflammation as a side effect.
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine causes heart inflammation
Professor Lau Yu-lung, the health committee chair that advises the government on vaccination policy, told RTHK that the adverse effect was more common than previously anticipated.
Experts agreed that teenagers should only receive one dose to “significantly lower the risk of heart inflammation,” according to Lu. However, he added that because of Hong Kong’s low COVID-19 risk, he believes that one does should be enough to safeguard adolescents.
The coronavirus has been largely contained in the Asian financial hub, with no locally transmitted infections in several weeks. However, as of end-August, government data showed that 41 incidences of heart inflammation had been reported from patients who had received the BioNTech vaccine.
Interestingly, 16 of the cases included teenagers aged 12 to 15, accounting for 0.008% of those immunized in that age group. After treatment, their symptoms went away.
Adolescents in Hong King eligible for BioNTech vaccine
The Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines have been used in Hong Kong to combat COVID-19. However, those aged 12 to 17 are only eligible for the BioNTech vaccine. Hong Kong has delivered 448,800 doses for this age range, with roughly 65%, or 290,000 teenagers, receiving at least one dosage.
According to regulators in the US, the EU, and the World Health Organization, mRNA vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna have been linked to rare incidences of myocarditis or pericarditis. However, the advantages of the shots outweigh the risks. Myocarditis is when the heart muscle becomes inflamed, limiting the organ’s ability to pump blood and causing irregular heartbeat rhythms. On the other hand, pericarditis is an inflammation of the heart’s lining.