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Covid-19 vaccine roll-out to 12-17 age group raises intriguing issues

Youngsters are set to be eligible to receive their Covid-19 vaccines from next week. Picture by AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh.

Youngsters are set to be eligible to receive their Covid-19 vaccines from next week. Picture by AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh.

Published Oct 16, 2021



Johannesburg - Next week the next cohort in the government’s drive to vaccinate the nation becomes eligible. It’s an important group – the 12- to 17 year olds; they’ll be next year’s high school population all the way to matric.

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But it raises an intriguing issue. What happens to the children of parents who are profoundly anti-vaxx? It’s perhaps the only reason why it’s a pity that the vaccination programme is not being extended to schools but only being rolled out at existing EVDS points which might limit access if vaccine hesitant parents refuse to take them there.

The good news, of course, is that if they can encourage their parents to take them to those vaccination centres – or just let them go and get jabbed – maybe they’ll encourage their parents to get the jab too.

Opening vaccinations to this age group is a big step forward in the war to get everyone vaccinated and the ongoing battle against anti-vaxxers, especially since parental consent is not necessary because the Children’s Act allows these children to give their own consent.

If we are to have any hope of turning the tide on Covid-19, and most importantly preventing people from having to be intubated or even dying, it is essential that everyone gets vaccinated. Initially our problem was that South Africa did not have enough vaccines, now we do but people are choosing not to do so.

With the successful launch of the Department of Health’s vaccination passport in recent weeks, it is becoming incumbent on the government to seriously consider introducing restrictions on movement and access for people who refuse to get vaccinated.

They have every right to remain unvaccinated, but those of us who have been vaccinated have every right to be protected from coming into contact with them.

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Let the un-vaxxed stay at home this Christmas season, while the rest of us get on with our lives.

The Saturday Star