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Taipei, September 19 (CNA) Taiwan will begin giving high school students the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT) COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

Recipients should look out for symptoms of myocarditis – inflammation of the heart muscle – and pericarditis – inflammation of the outer wall of the heart – within 28 days of receiving the BNT vaccination, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳 時 中) said at a daily press conference of the CECC which he directs.

Symptoms include chest pain, chest pressure, or tightness in the chest; Shortness of breath; Feelings of a heart beating, fluttering, or pounding; Fainting; and a lower tolerance for exercise, Chen said.

People who experience these symptoms should see a doctor immediately and tell the doctor if they have been vaccinated.

Concerns about the side effects of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines such as the BNT vaccine were raised after reports of young adults developing heart problems after vaccination.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in late August that the risk of myocarditis after a second dose of the BNT vaccine in people aged 18 to 24, who are considered the highest risk group, was 18.5 cases per 1 million doses.

The BNT vaccine is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine that results from Phase 3 studies have shown to be effective and safe for participants 12 years and older. It can be given to people aged 12 and over in Taiwan.

Taiwan is slated to begin rolling out the vaccine on Sept. 22, with people ages 12-17 coming first.

Middle or high school students have a choice of whether to receive the vaccine either in their school or in a hospital.

The health department in each community will administer the doses to the students on the school premises.

Those who choose not to take the vaccine at school can make other arrangements on the 1922 vaccine registration platform, according to the CECC.

(By Chiang Hui-chun, Chen Chieh-ling and Evelyn Kao)

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