Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla announced that the 12-17 cohort will now be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
12-17 cohort invited to get vaccinated
There are 6.5 million teenagers aged 12-17 in South Africa. This represents about 11% of the country’s population, and for a government pushing to achieve its target of inoculating two-thirds of South Africans, more effort will be placed on encouraging this group to get the jab.
The health ministry confirmed that from Wednesday 20 October 2021, adolescents who fall in this age group will be able to approach any private and public vaccination site to receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot.
Nicholas Crisp, the acting Director-General of the health department, revealed that as prescribed in the Children’s Act, teens in this age group do not require consent from their parents to get the vaccine.
Crisp also indicated that in the early stages of the rollout, inoculations for the 12-17 cohort will only be carried out at designated vaccination sites.
Considerations are being made to see how this process can be implemented in schools during the 2022 curriculum.
What are the health risks for teens?
As a precautionary measure, this age group will only receive one dose of Pfizer. Plans to add the second dose will be considered at a later stage, the minister confirmed. This is due to the increase risk of heart inflammation in teen patients who’ve taken the jab.
However, as reported by Nature.com, studies conducted in Israel suggest that the chance of developing heart inflammation from a single shot of the Pfizer vaccine are one-in-50 000.
Still, the health department is taking no chances. For the time being, this cohort will have to make do with one dose which should provide the necessary protections against severe COVID-19 symptoms.
How to register for COVID-19 vaccine on the EVDS database
Teens aged between 12-17 are encouraged to register on the EVDS database to receive a vaccine appointment at a nearby vaccination site. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to register on the EVDS database:
- Select method of identification (SA ID, passport, refugee or foreign national number)
- General information (ID number, date of birth, full name, gender)
- Contact details (mobile number, email address)
- Provide residential address
- Appointment preferences (select a vaccination site closest to where you stay and your appointment preference)
- Confirmation of medical aid details (only complete if you belong to a medical aid)
- Confirm if details are correct and accept terms and conditions
- Check confirmation of registration (text or email)