The Department of Health is expanding its Covid-19 vaccination rollout program to include children between the ages of 12 and 17 years old.
South African Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla said that the decision to vaccinate children in this age group was taken after recommendations by the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on Covid-19 Vaccines.
Phaahla said, “we believe that this will come in handy as schools start their examinations, while some of them already advanced towards concluding the academic year and studying to prepare for the next academic year of 2022.”
Children who fall within this age group can register on the register on Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) and can expect to start receiving Covid-19 jabs from 20 October 2021.
However, Children will only receive one dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. Adults have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Phaahla says that they are taking precautions by only administering one dose of the Pfizer jab. This is due to reported cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) was reported.
The Department of Health’s Acting Director-General, Dr Nicholas Crisp says there are around 6 million individuals in this cohort. He said that it would be beneficial to get half of these children vaccinated before the school holidays.
Crisp said, “It's our intention for children to be vaccinated from Wednesday next week. That should give a few days for those that are writing [exams] to be vaccinated and have a couple of days to get over any mild side-effects that they may experience.”
Matakanye Matakanye from the National Association of School Governing Bodies has welcomed the announcement from the department of health. He said that we are guided by experts and scientists in these difficult times. He added that it is important for individuals in a school setting to get vaccinated to ensure the environment is safe.
Children will be allowed to receive their jab at all pubilc and private vaccination sites around the country.