CAPE TOWN - Parents in doubt are encouraged to consult with their child's health-care provider instead of being on the fence as to whether their child should receive the Covid-19 jab or not.
This as the Health Department called for parents to support their children aged 12 years and older to vaccinate before schools open.
“This will avoid learners losing school time as a result of testing positive or as a result of contact with people infected with Covid-19,” the Health Department said.
In October 2021, South Africa extended the Covid-19 vaccination to adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years. While some parents rushed to get their children vaccinated, others held back.
So far there have been 892 135 first doses administered to 12- to 17-year-olds.
Health insurer Affinity Health says one of the biggest concerns parents have about vaccinating their children against Covid-19 is whether there are dangerous side effects.
“There have been reports of youths suffering from mild side effects, but experts believe that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risk of side effects,” Affinity Health said.
“It's crucial to recognise that children may experience adverse effects after receiving an immunisation, and this is to be expected. It is merely a sign that your child's immune system is doing its job, working hard to aid their body to create protection against the infection.
“However, it's also normal not to have any adverse effects at all, and parents shouldn't be concerned that this suggests that the vaccination is not working for your child.”
Both the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines can cause mild to moderate side effects in children and adults, they said.
These according to the World Health Organization include pain at the injection site, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills and diarrhoea.
Symptoms often begin after a few days of receiving the vaccine and should subside within a few days, they said.
“Keep in mind that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine's negative effects are said to get worse after the second dose, so be prepared for that possibility,” Affinity Health added.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that some children may experience a red, itchy, swollen or painful rash on the site where they got the jab. These rashes – which are known as ’Covid arm’ – tend to start within a few days to more than a week after the first shot and are sometimes quite large in size. Your child's doctor will prescribe treatment, which can include antihistamines if the rash is itchy, and medicine, such as acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, for pain.”
Meanwhile, in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5- to 11-year-olds receive an additional primary dose (booster shot) of vaccine 28 days after their second shot.