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COVID-19: South Africa to start jabs for kids as young as 12

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South Africa will begin vaccinating children as young as 12 next week and also offer Covid-19 boosters against certain immune disorders, the health minister announced Friday.

With a large youth population and the world’s biggest HIV caseload, the announcement affects millions of people and marks a significant scaling up of South Africa’s pandemic response.


“We ready to open up vaccination for children between 12-17 years of age, and a majority of this cohort are in the secondary or high school level,” Health Minister Joe Phaahla told a news conference.

Under South African law, children aged 12 and up can give their own consent for medical treatment, meaning they don’t need parental permission to get the vaccine.

READ: Children from 12 to 17 years can be vaccinated, says health minister


Starting Wednesday, children can receive a single Pfizer dose, with a second shot delayed to allow for further study on a rare side effect, the minister added. 

More than one-third of all adults in South Africa have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, the minister added.


The country has launched a digital vaccine certificate scheme. Proof of vaccination is required to enter larger gatherings such as sporting events.

For the immune-compromised, Phaahla said they can begin receiving boosters, but only on advice from their doctor.

© Agence France-Presse

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