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SA: Children aged 12 and 17 are eligible for vaccination

Children between the ages of 12 and 17 can now register for COVID-19 vaccinations, according to the National Health Department.

“A single dose of Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine is recommended for adolescents aged 12 to 18, while one dose of Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine is appropriate for adolescents aged 12 and for those turning 18,” remarked Nicholas Crisp, the National Health Department, Director-General.

So far, South Africa provides COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone aged 18 or older using a standardised vaccination schedule of one dose of Janssen (J&J) vaccine and two doses of Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine.

In a statement on Thursday, Crisp notified health department managers of the updated requirements for vaccinations for adolescents aged 12 to 17.

According to the notification, children aged 12 and older will be eligible to receive two doses of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccination 42 days apart starting December 9, 2021.

“The Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine will only be administered at public and private vaccination sites. It is not recommended that schools administer vaccinations. The program will be reviewed in 2022.”

According to Crisp, the age shift from adolescence to adulthood will be challenging for many 17-year-olds who took a dose as teenagers before turning 18.

“The department has sent SMSs to adolescents, reminding them to return for their second shot,” he added.

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