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Taiwan takes action to address severe COVID cases in kids

Parents urged to pay attention to eight precursor symptoms

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A student in an elementary school in New Taipei receives COVID vaccination.

A student in an elementary school in New Taipei receives COVID vaccination. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The COVID-19 task force in Taiwan has scrambled to tackle the issue of severe child cases through redirecting hospital capacity and vaccinations.

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday (May 25) that Taiwan has recorded 15 severe child cases aged 8 months to 10 in the latest virus surge, among whom five died. Seven of the patients developed encephalitis, four had pneumonia, and two had sepsis.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said an expert panel has drawn up a guideline for treating kids with COVID, including advice on blood tests and abnormalities to look out for in brain images, per CNA.

A total of 56 hospitals have set up COVID wards specifically for children and resources, like ICU beds, have been redistributed to ensure seriously-ill children receive prompt treatment at specialized institutions.

Meanwhile, Pfizer vaccine doses for children aged 5 to 11 and Moderna for those 6 to 11 are being rolled out from Wednesday. The two mRNA vaccine manufacturers are also seeking emergency use for younger kids, with Moderna having already applied.

The health officials have urged parents to heed eight precursor symptoms that could indicate a child has a serious case and seek medical attention. These include body temperatures above 41 degrees Celsius, lethargy, vomiting, convulsions, continued headache, unsteady gait, myoclonic jerks, and decreased consciousness.