- Covid-19 vaccination has opened for children aged 12 and older.
- Around six million children will be eligible for the jab.
- Children will be vaccinated using only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
The vaccination of children aged 12 to 17 against Covid-19 has opened, the national health department has said.
This will potentially add around six million additional people to the country's vaccination programme. The department said it hoped to vaccinate at least half of this age group by the start of the school holidays.
To date, more than 11 million people in South Africa are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
READ | Covid-19: Children aged 12 to 17 eligible for vaccine jabs from Wednesday, won't need parental consent
"The Department of Health will [on Wednesday] commence with registration and vaccination of young people aged 12 to 17... with the Pfizer vaccine in line with the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines," the department said in a statement.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced the move on Friday, adding that all children aged 12 and older will be eligible to receive one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
"[For] most of them [are] at secondary or high school level this will be beneficial as schools are preparing for [year-end] examinations to conclude the academic year. Due to preparations for final-year examinations, there won't be any special vaccination sites at schools for this age group now," said Phaahla.
While the Children's Act states that children aged 12 and older can consent to their own medical treatment, it is recommended that parents discuss the benefits of the vaccine with children and accompany them when they present themselves at vaccination sites, Phaahla added.
"Vaccination of young people from the age of 12 years is a global phenomenon, [and] the parents should not be too concerned about it," said Phaahla.
All eligible children can register for vaccination through the Electronic Vaccination Data System link vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za, or call the Covid-19 Call Centre 0800 029 999.
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