Covid-19: Children aged 12 to 17 eligible for vaccine jabs from Wednesday, won't need parental consent

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  • The Department of Health says the vaccination of children aged 12 to 17 will start on 20 October.
  • The children will receive only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Children aged 12 and older will not need parental consent for vaccination.

The Department of Health announced during a digital briefing on Friday that the vaccination of children aged 12 to 17 against Covid-19 will open on 20 October.

Increasing the vaccination drive to include those aged 12 and older will add another six million people to the programme, and the department is hoping to vaccinate at least half of them by the start of the school holidays.

The programme will not be rolled out at schools this year, said Dr Nicholas Crisp, acting Director-General of Health. However, children aged 12 and older will be able to get the jab at all public and private vaccination sites, he said.

READ | Covid-19: South Africa records 947 new infections and 40 deaths

Crisp added that children in this age group will not need parental consent for Covid-19 vaccination as the Children's Act makes provision for children aged 12 to 17 to access medical treatment without their parent's consent under specific guidelines. He said this clause would apply to the Covid-19 vaccine.

As of Thursday, 19 899 964 vaccine doses were administered in the country and 10 539 455 people were fully vaccinated.

According to Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, children in the 12 to 17 age group will receive only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Experts, he said, were busy assessing information suggesting that a small number of short-lived cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) could occur after the second dose.

Phaahla said:

We can assure parents and young people that even where [cases of myocarditis] have been noticed, there has been no permanent risk. We're just taking precaution in this case.

The department was almost halfway to its target of vaccinating 70% of all adults by the end of December. The vaccination programme is administering around 200 000 vaccine doses per day, which remains under the target of 300 000 daily doses set by the president.

If you come across Covid-19 vaccination information that you do not trust, read Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked: Get the facts here. If you can't find the facts you're looking for, email us at the address mentioned in the article and we will verify the information with medical professionals.

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