The COVID-19 vaccination drive in South Africa is set to take a new direction with talk of a review in policy relating to the offering of vaccines to children over the age of 12.
According to the Health Minister Joe Phaahla, the government will review its policy of offering COVID-19 vaccines to children in South Africa towards the end of October.
“The focus of the government is still on vaccinating adults, with the main priority being people over the age of 50 ahead of a potential fourth wave at the end of the year,” said Phaahla.
The Minister, however, acknowledges a decision made by the South Africa health regulator for the approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be administered on children over the age of 12.
“Depending on the number of adults that have been vaccinated at the end of October, the government will then look at reviewing its policy of vaccinating people over the age of 12,” he said.
Phaahla further added that even though there is evidence of the Pfizer vaccine being approved for administration for children over 12 years, the focus of the government still remains on the high-risk people.
The objective is to achieve a 70% vaccination count for people aged 50 and above before the arrival of the fourth wave with the aim to ease the pressure off the country’s already overwhelmed hospital resources.
“The government is aware of pressure from schools to have children vaccinated. Other factors that will be considered are the local government elections on November 1, which could be a super-spreader event, and an excess vaccine supply that will allow the under 18 age group to be targeted,” he concluded.