Thursday, 21 October 2021

Pretoria: A total of 6 843 children, aged between 12 and 17 years, had received their one shot of the Pfizer vaccine by 4pm on Wednesday after the country kick-started its vaccination campaign for youngsters.

The Department of Health’s records show that out of the 39 109 adolescents who signed up for the jab on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) in the past 24 hours, 6 843 were vaccinated.

This comes after the department officially opened the registration and the vaccination of children aged 12 and older in the past 24 hours, following the Health Minister’s announcement last week.

“The first day of vaccination of 12 to 17-year-olds went well without reported challenges,” said the department.

According to the department, Gauteng is leading in registration, with 15 573 adolescents who have registered.

The province is followed by 10 589 registrations in the Western Cape, 5 676 in KwaZulu-Natal, 2 397 in the Eastern Cape, 1 397 in Free State, 1 119 in Limpopo, 1 048 in the North West, 831 in Mpumalanga and 479 in the Northern Cape.

The department said it was encouraged by parents who heeded the call to assist their children with registration and accompanied them to vaccination sites.

“That was a sign that they had frank and open discussions at home about the benefits of vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

While the department said it did not expect high demand in the morning because the majority of children go to school. It did, however, experience long queues after 2pm.

The department said it was hoping that the numbers of youngsters flocking to vaccination centres would rise on weekends.

There are about six million youngsters in the secondary school cohort and the department aims to reach at least half before schools close.

In the United States, a new Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is “highly effective” at preventing hospitalisations among 12 to 18-year-olds.

According to a Forbes’ report, the Pfizer vaccine — the only one approved in the US for those who are aged 17 and under — was 93% effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalisations.

The Delta variant of the Coronavirus, which drove South Africa’s third wave, was the dominant strain at the time of the study.

“In a multistate network of US paediatric hospitals, this study found that receipt of two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was highly effective in preventing COVID-19 hospitalisation among persons aged 12 to 18 years.”