Government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 vaccines said that additional coronavirus vaccine doses should be given to people with compromised immunity.
These include individuals who are on long-term oral steroids therapy for autoimmune conditions and those with haematological or immune malignancies while those who have received organ or bone marrow transplants, renal dialysis and primary immunological disorders should also be considered.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla said that more than 13.8 million people had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
“We are pleased with the enthusiasm that South Africans have embraced the vaccination certificate. As of yesterday, 1.5 million certificates had been downloaded, also recently, more than 10 million SMSes with vaccination codes.”
The minister on Friday also announced that the 12 to 17 age group would be eligible for vaccinations from 20 October.
The Ministerial Advisory Committee on vaccines said that initially only one shot of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine would be administered to this cohort.
Phaahla explained that they were assessing data from studies on a few short-lived cases of myocarditis following the second dose of the Pfizer treatment, which have been recorded worldwide.
“This rare finding of this adverse effect is a slight inflammation on the heart muscle which has been noticed in a few cases.”
Phaahla stressed that even where these side-effects had been recorded, there was no permanent risk.
“It will be just one dose while the studies are continuing which we believe will still offer significant protection and more information comes, we can space the second dose for the young people.”
The jab has passed safety and efficacy standards set by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.
Children won’t need parental permission if they choose to get their shot.