By Umamah Bakharia
The Department of Health announced in a briefing on Friday that children over the ages of 12 will receive the Covid-19 vaccination from Wednesday, 20 October.
According to Eyewitness News, including children over 12 into the vaccination drive would see at least half of the six million by the start of the school holidays.
Acting Director-General of Health, Dr Nicholas Crisp, says the programme will not be rolled out at schools this year; however, he adds that children ages 12 and older will get the jab at all public and private vaccination sites.
Crisp added that children in this age group would not need parental consent for Covid-19 vaccination. The Children’s Act provides children aged 12 to 17 to access medical treatment without their parent’s permission under specific guidelines. He said this clause would apply to the Covid-19 vaccine.
According to Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, children in the 12 to 17 age group will receive only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. He continued that experts were busy assessing information suggesting that a few short-lived cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) could occur after the second dose.
“The VMAC advised that for now, we only give one dose while assessing information which suggests that in a few cases, there have been short-lived cases of transient myocarditis after two doses. The timing of the second dose will be informed by further information on this rarely observed side effect, which has no permanent risk,” said Phaahla.