Children between the ages of 12 and 17 years will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations from October 20.
Speaking at the weekly Covid-19 briefing on Friday, health minister Joe Phaahla said the electronic registration system would be open from Wednesday with vaccinations starting the same day.
Parents would not be required to give consent for their children to be vaccinated as the Children’s Act provided for 12-17 year-olds to give their own consent for any medical treatment, said acting health director-general Nicholas Crisp.
The age group accounts for around six million people.
“It would be good to vaccinate at least half of them between the school holidays and the end of exams,” said Crisp.
It is recommended children be give one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Phaahla said the department was monitoring “short-lived cases” of transient myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, which have been reported in a handful of patients elsewhere in the world after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
“There is no indication the first dose has any serious side-effects,” he said, “and it still offers significant protection.”
Phaahla said that the Pfizer vaccine would be used for this group.
“This service will start on the 20th of October to allow the necessary preparation on the EVDS registration system and also other logistical preparations.”
Minister of Health has announced that govt is ready to vaccinate children from 12 yrs to 17 yrs. The vaccination fir this cohort will be opened on 20 October. The vaccine MAC recommended that children should be give 1 dose of Pfizer vaccine #VaccineRollOutSA
— Department of Health (@HealthZA) October 15, 2021
Phaahla said that the move was also supported by Cabinet, as well as Health MEC’s, when they met earlier this week.
“We believe that this will be handy as the schools start their examinations – some of them are already advanced towards concluding their academic year and are starting to prepare for the next academic year of 2022.”
The health minister said that the Ministerial Advisory Committee advised that one shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 jab be administered initially.
“While assessing information we noted that in a few cases all over the world there have been some short-lived cases of transient myocarditis.”