Health Minister Joe Phaahla says the Health Department is ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to the cohort 12 to 17 year olds.
Phaahla and Deputy Health Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo convened a virtual media briefing on Friday on governments efforts in the fight against COVID-19 and the national vaccination rollout programme.
Phaahla says the decision to vaccinate 12 to 17 year olds follows a recommendation from the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccination (MAC), which was also supported by Cabinet and Health MEC’s when they met earlier this week.
He says the Pfizer coronavirus jab will be used for this group and the process of opening up vaccinations for the 12-17 years age group will start on 20 October.
“The Ministerial Advisory Committee advised that for now, only one dose of Pfizer’s two-dose series should be given to this age group, while experts and health officials assess information that suggests that there has been a very small number of short-lived cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) after the second dose.”
Phaahla has urged parents there is no need for concern.
“We can assure parents and young people that even where [cases of myocarditis] have been noticed, there has been no permanent risk. We’re just taking precaution in this case.”
Phaahla says The total doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered as of Thursday were around 19 million and by the end of Friday more than 20 million doses will have been administered.
He also indicted that more than 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine certificates had been downloaded acknowledgeding the glitches in the system that frustrated people who were trying to download their certificates.
Phaahla says the COVID-19 deaths have dropped by 16% over the last seven days.