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Children aged 5 to 11 who are at risk of severe Covid-19 can get vaccine shots in new year

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Children aged 5 to 11 who are at risk of severe Covid-19 can get vaccine shots in new year

Image of Covid-19 vaccine
Photo by Reuters

21st December 2022

By: News24Wire

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Children aged 5 to 11 who are living with conditions that place them at risk of severe Covid-19 will be offered two doses of the paediatric Pfizer vaccine early next year.

According to a statement by the Department of Health, the vaccines will be administered at an interval of 21 days between the two doses.

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The vaccines will be made available to children with chronic respiratory, heart, neurological, kidney, liver and gastrointestinal conditions, certain endocrine disorders, serious genetic abnormalities, and other conditions associated with immunosuppression.

However, they will only be able to receive a dose if they have been referred by a clinician and with the consent of their parents or guardians.

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The department is also considering giving additional booster doses to the adult population. Currently, adults aged 18 to 49 are eligible for a total of three doses.

Those aged 50 and older are eligible for four doses.

"Consideration is being given to offering an additional booster dose to both age groups," the department said.

This would mean four doses for adults aged up to 49 and five for those 50 and older.

"There is little experience of ideal booster intervals and there is a high level of immunity in the community. At this stage, the intention is to provide another booster at an interval between the previous and the additional booster dose of a minimum of 180 days (six months)," the department said.

"This next booster will be a voluntary dose and not part of a wide community campaign." More information on both the additional booster doses and vaccination of children younger than 12 would be provided in time, the department said.

"Despite the current low hospitalisation and mortality rates, the pandemic continues to threaten the lives of vulnerable people.

Vaccination still provides the best protection against severe disease as well as long Covid, and the department, therefore, continues to encourage everyone to protect themselves through vaccination," the statement read.

South Africa has recorded more than four million Covid-19 cases. According to the health department's Covid-19 dashboard, there were 383 new cases in the last 24 hours.

More than 38-million vaccine doses have been administered across the country.

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