The Department of Health announced, on Friday, that South Africa’s (SA) vaccine rollout will now invite registrations from children aged between 12 and 17.
SA vaccine rollout: 12-17 age group can now get the jab
At a media briefing, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla revealed that the next phase of the vaccine rollout is inoculating South Africa’s teenage cohort.
Adolescents in this age group are encouraged to register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) in order to receive a vaccine appointment. Alternatively, the ministry revealed, the teens can be escorted to a nearby private or public vaccination site to register and get jabbed.
When can teens get the vaccine?
The 12-17 age group constitutes 11% of South Africa’s population. The health department hopes to encourage as many of the six-million-plus teens to come out in droves when vaccinations open for this cohort from Wednesday 20 October 2021.
This is the first time a COVID-19 vaccine will be administered to citizens under the age of 18 in South Africa and as a cautionary measure, only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be used.
The risk involved with this cohort, the health ministry explained, was the occurrence of heart inflammation as a side effect of the vaccine.
Asked if teens would be vaccinated at schools, Nicholas Crisp from the health ministry confirmed that for now, COVID-19 vaccinations would only be administered at designated sites. However, the possibility of inoculations being carried out at schools may be included in the 2022 curriculum.