12-17 cohort can get COVID jab from 20 October…without parents’ consent

The Department of Health confirmed that children between 12 to 17 years old can get vaccinated from 20 October in South Africa.

Children between 12 and 17: Vaccinated in South Africa

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla confirmed on Friday 15 October that this particular group will be able to get the vaccine from next week Wednesday.

According to The Citizen, the date was carefully chosen due to final examinations starting soon. This is also meant to be especially helpful for matriculants, who are encouraged to register on the electronic vaccination data system EVDS.  

It is also reported that the estimated six million 12- to 17-year-olds in this age group will receive one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, as per the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority’s (Sahpra’s) approval. 

What are the risks?

Phaahla assured that the first dose of Pfizer does not have any serious side effects, and would still offer “significant protection”. 

“I can assure parents and the youth that even where this has been noticed, there has been no permanent risk”. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the rarity of myocarditis in children and teenagers, with rates so low that recommendations for this age group to receive the vaccine have not been changed. 

Second vaccination dose could be on the cards

The CDC also emphasised that the risks associated with children and teenagers contracting COVID-19 far outweighed the potential, and rare, risks and side-effects associated with the COVID-19 vaccine. 

He said once more information came to light, a second dose would be administered to this age group. 

The publication also reports that acting health department director-general Dr Nicholas Crisp said the aim was to vaccinate at least half of the 12- to 17-year-old age group before exams and school holidays. 

It is reported that according to the Children’s Act, people aged 12 to 17 do not need their parents’ consent for any medical treatment – which accounts for the COVID-19 vaccine as well. This means that children between these ages can simply go to any private and public vaccination site and get their Pfizer vaccine.

Can I get vaccinated at school?

Crisp did explain that vaccines will currently not be administered at schools due to the agreements needed among parties concerned, such as the Department of Basic Education, school governing bodies and the health department, in terms of how consent would be given for vaccines in a school health programme setting. 

Source: thesouthafrican.com