Children As Young As 12 Can Now Get A Jab

South Africa will from Wednesday give children as young as 12 Covid-19 vaccinations

The Department of Health said from Wednesday, 20 October, it will “commence with the registration and vaccination of young people aged 12- 17 years old with Pfizer vaccine in line with the recommendations from the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines”. 

The decision to give kids Covid-19 jabs was announced last week by Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla.

He said all children from 12 to 17 years and older will be eligible to receive one dose of Pfizer vaccine from today.

Most of the children in this age group are at secondary or high school level. 

“This will be beneficial as schools are preparing for end-year examinations to conclude the academic year,” said the health department in a statement this week. 

“Due to preparations for final year examinations, there won’t be any special vaccination sites at schools for this age group now.

“Parents, caregivers and legal guardians are encouraged to assist eligible young people to register and vaccinate at their public or private nearest vaccination site.” 

The department said the move was in line with the Children’s Act 38 of 2005.

“Children over the age of 12 years can consent to their own medical treatment or that of their children, provided they are of sufficient maturity and have the mental capacity to understand the benefits, risks, social and other implications of the treatment,” said the department. 

However, the department recommended that parents have open discussions with children about the benefits of Covid-19 vaccine to make an informed health choice, and possibly accompany them when they present themselves at vaccination sites. 

“Vaccination of young people from the age of 12 years is a global phenomenon of which the parents should not be too concerned about it,” said the department.

“As with adults, all eligible children should bring along South African ID cards, birth certificate with registration number, foreign passport or any verifiable asylum/refugee proof of identity bearing the name of the child for purposes of registering on the EVDS [Electronic Vaccination Data System].” 

The department added: “Women and young girls aged 12 years and older, should be encouraged to vaccinate during any stage of their pregnancy and breastfeeding”.

The Department urged healthcare workers to discuss the benefits and possible risks of Covid-19 vaccination with their clients. 

All eligible children can register to vaccinate through EVDS link or call Covid-19 Call centre 0800 029 999