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Resistance by the ACDP to the Roll Out of Vaccines to 12- to 17-Year-Olds

Umm Muhammed Umar

A case brought by the ACDP, the African Christian Democratic Party, and others, seeks an interim interdict against the national Department of Health, and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, against the vaccination of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 years, against COVID-19 was start in the Gauteng High Court today. Section 27 is joining the case as an amicus curia, or what you would call a friend of the court, and argue in support of the rollout of the vaccines to teenagers. Radio Islam spoke to Section 27 attorney, Zeenat Sujee.

Sujee said that when this case came to their attention, Section 27 realized the importance of the case to learners who are mainly in overcrowded schools. She said, “we understand that South African schools, especially the rural schools, are overcrowded and with no protection, many of these learners would be contracting the virus, taking it home to elderly grandparents who may be looking after them, or even have teachers who are living with comorbidities.” She said that that was is one aspect of why the vaccine was important.

Sujee said that the aim of vaccinating that particular age group was not just to protect others. She said, “we have had evidence, also we’ve brought in evidence from experts, even from Professor Madhi himself, where he’s saying that ……(in) the first wave especially, it was the younger group of persons that carried the virus.” She added South Africans needed to ensure that we are vaccinated, and to eradicate a culture of anti-vaccine hesitancy.

People who choose not to vaccinate or even this term anti vaccination display when the semantics ultimately that is an age group that is under very low risk from a health perspective, using them as a some sort of a shield or even encouraging a vaccination, which are we sort of course voluntary voluntarily at the end of the day, following those this group. Wouldn’t this be against policy or the policy of ethics that you are asking one group of people to be vaccinated in order to protect a another group of people to take precedence? I mean, you’ve got COVID-19. Now, tomorrow, you could have another F pandemic, and you know, the same the same policy will remain even though the disease doesn’t remain. So I think that there’s it’s not going to be saying that one one age group needs to be vaccinated in order to protect another why. What I hate was is that the acdp have brought this as an aid to

With regards to how ethical it was to encourage an age group that was not high risk to vaccinate, and the implications for the future in the event of more viruses occurring, Sujee said that the ACDP had brought the case to say the vaccine should not be tested on children. She said, “what the Minister of Health has put forward in this case, and they have included evidence by Professor Salim Abdul Carrim, and Dr Chris, to say that this has been tested and is safe enough for adolescents.” She further explained, “so it’s not particularly that we are saying that one particular group, that is (the) close to 17-year-olds, (are) supposed to be protecting the older persons, and what we are saying is that we need to even protect them also, because this is their right to health as well. And we need to ensure that many people as possible, are vaccinated.”

As to whether proper education would be given to the 12- and 17-year-olds, prior to them taking the vaccine, explaining the possible side effects, reported in that specific age group. Sujee said that South African scientists have furnished evidence to show that myocarditis was very rare. She said, “So yes, education and vaccine education are really important. And not only to those cohorts, but to all South Africans. So, the efficacy around the vaccine and the importance of vaccines has been is an important rollout of advocacy. Ultimately, it’s people’s choice whether they take it or not.” She added, “But we have good evidence and scientific that shows the safety of the vaccines and also the effectiveness of the vaccines.”

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