The Department of Health stated during a digital briefing on 15 October that Covid-19 vaccines would be available to children aged 12 and up beginning on October 20. According to Health Minister Joe Phaahla, expanding South Africa's immunization push to cover the 12–17 year age range will add additional six million individuals to the program. The agency hopes to vaccinate at least half of these children by the start of the summer vacation.
However, this age group will only receive one dosage of Pfizer's two-dose series, according to Phaahla, while specialists evaluate data indicating that a tiny number of short-term occurrences of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) occur after the second treatment. "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 precautions in this case,” said the health minister.
After obtaining revised safety and effectiveness evidence from the manufacturer, the South African Product Health Regulatory Authority (Saphra) authorized the use of the Pfizer jab in children aged 12 and older in September 2021. This year, the initiative will not be implemented in schools. Instead, children over the age of 12 will be able to get vaccinated at any public or private vaccination location.
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