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Vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 to begin Oct 20

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Vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 to begin Oct 20

Image of Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla

15th October 2021

By: Thabi Madiba
Creamer Media Senior Research Assistant and Reporter

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Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla announced on Friday that the Covid-19 vaccination of children between the ages 12 and 17 will start on October 20, with one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

This follows a recommendation by the Vaccine Ministerial Advisory Committee (VMAC) which was supported by Health MECs and Cabinet.

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The Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority for this age group.

Phaahla made the announcement during the Department of Health’s (DoH's) provincial oversight visit to monitor the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Diamond City in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape.

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“The VMAC advised that, for now, we only give one dose while assessing information which suggests that in a few cases there has 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,” the Minister said.

The Committee also advised that additional doses be given to individuals with compromised immunity, such as people on long-term oral steroids therapy for auto-immune conditions, those with haematological or immune malignancies, people with solid organ or bone marrow transplants, those on renal dialysis and people with primary immunological disorders.

He went on to explain that the advice is that these categories of patients be offered additional doses over the prescribed, but this must strictly be under the referral by their medical doctor.

Phaahla said the DoH believes the vaccination of children will come in handy as schools begin examinations.

DIGITAL COVID-19 VACCINATION CERTIFICATE

Meanwhile, the DoH is pleased with the enthusiasm with which South Africans have embraced the digital vaccination certificate.

“As of 15:30 yesterday, the 14th October, more than 1.5-million certificates had been downloaded. We have also resent more than 10-million SMSes with vaccination codes in case they were not saved after vaccination,” he said.

He highlighted that the DoH acknowledges that many individuals were frustrated when the system was not responsive, saying this was largely owing to large numbers at peak demand times when the server could not cope.

He assured citizens that the certificate development team at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is monitoring the traffic and making appropriate adjustments.

“As we said last week, this is just the first phase and by the end of October there will be more improvements in terms of access and security,” he promised.

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