The Pfizer Comirnaty Covid-19 Vaccine has been approved for individuals that are 12-years-old and above. The announcement was made by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).
The senior manager for pharmaceutical evaluation at Sahpra, Silverani Padayachee, says the vaccination dosage for individuals 12 and above is the same as the other population groups that have been vaccinated. They will receive two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Padayachee says that the information presented by Pfizer shows the side effects are more or less the same among minors as they are in adults.
She does however note that myocarditis has been reported in younger individuals, especially males. “Regulators worldwide have agreed that this is a very rare side effect but it's something that we look out to receiving possible reports on” added Padayachee.
Padyachee explained that myocarditis is exhibited through pain in the chest, shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat. She says they are fully aware of this and should anybody experience this, they should report it to the health authorities.
Dr Nicholas Crisp, acting director-general in the National Health Department and responsible for leading South Africa’s COVID vaccination roll-out, says that for now, the primary target for Covid-19 vaccination remains people over 60 and those who are most vulnerable. He added that the country is not in a position to immediately vaccinate minors.
Crisp said that children were more affected during the third wave, driven by the delta variant, than in previous waves.
He said, “when we introduce [vaccination] for the children we must make sure we have enough vaccine in the country that we are clear on the protocols, of course, these are minors and although minor children may take the decision on their own to be vaccinated usually parents or guardians will be involved in that process”.