Last week it was announced that children between the ages of 12-17 will be part of South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout. However, one announcement made by the Coronavirus Command Council has raised eyebrows among parents.
Dr Nicholas Crisp The Department of Health’s Acting Director-General, announced that children between the ages of 12 and 17 years old will not need their parent’s permission to register on the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS). This essentially means that children can register and get the vaccine without their parent’s consent.
A concerned mother from Daveyton Ekurhuleni has voiced her concerns with the announcement from the government. She questioned why certain aspects of society require you to be 18 to agree to something and if you are younger you would need the permission of your parent or guardian. She says that it could be dangerous if a child comes home sick and parents won’t have an idea of what is happening.
A different mother says she is not okay with the decision from the government. She said, “I don't feel okay with that because they have to get permission from the parents they give are their guidance they have to make decisions on their behalf because they know what is good and what is not good for their kids so in that case, I think it's a good idea that the parents have to make the decision on behalf of their children”.
Shando Theron, a family law expert, says that the matter could spark court battles around the country. This, as the Children’s Act framework puts out that the age of consent is 18 years old. However, the government has said that no consent is required. Theron does point out that the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act does not have an age of consent.
“One wants a better word it specifically states in the act for this specific procedure consent's not required, yet the minister had said Joe Phaahla has said on October the 15th, that's Friday, he said that consent is not required but there's no legislation that backs him up”, concluded Theron.
Children will be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccination on Wednesday, 20 October 2021. The Department of Health has said that minors will receive one dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.