Children between 12 and 17 are now eligible for second vaccine shot

The department of health has adjusted its eligibility criteria for vaccination for children between the ages of 12 and 17, allowing a second dose of the double-shot Pfizer vaccine. 

“Both doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be provided at public and private national vaccination programme sites only,” the deputy director-general of national health insurance, Nicholas Crisp, announced.

“We are not encouraging any vaccinations to take place at schools as part of [a] school health programme. This will be reviewed during 2022,” Crisp added.

Children aged between 12 and 17 can, as of Thursday 9 December, receive their second vaccine dose. The shots must be taken 42 days apart from each other. The government opened up vaccines for younger children aged between 12 and 17 in late October.

Those who received the first dose as 17-year-olds but have since turned 18 will still receive an SMS to inform them to return for their second dose, Crisp said.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) announced on Wednesday that those aged 18 years and older were now eligible for an optional booster (or third) shot of Pfizer’s Comirnaty vaccine. 

In a statement, SAHPRA said it had approved a third dose for this group “at least six months after the second dose.” 

The regulatory body also said individuals aged 12 years and older who were severely immunocompromised could now have a booster dose, administered at least 28 days after their second dose.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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