Children can choose to vaccinate or not, ‘but should chat to an adult first’

PHILANI NOMBEMBE

The health department has urged parents to discuss the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination with their children.

This comes as the department prepares to roll out its programme for vaccination of children aged 12-17.

In a statement on Tuesday, the department said it would commence with the registration and vaccination of “young people” with the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday. The department said this was in line with the recommendations of the ministerial advisory committee on vaccines.

“This follows an announcement made by the minister of health Dr Joe Phaahla last week, that all children aged 12-17 will be eligible to receive one dose of Pfizer vaccine,” the statement reads. “Most of them are at secondary or high school level. This will be beneficial as schools are preparing for examinations to conclude the academic year.”

The department said there will be no special vaccination sites at schools because of preparations for examinations.

“Parents, caregivers and legal guardians are encouraged to help eligible young people to register and vaccinate at public or private vaccination sites.”

The Children’s Act says that children over the age 12 can consent to their own medical treatment on condition that they are of sufficient maturity and have the mental capacity to understand the benefits, risks, social and other implications of the treatment.

“However, it is 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,” the statement reads.

“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. 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).”

-TimesLIVE

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