S.Africa: Vaccine Backlash: Health Minister appoints committee to look into vaccines for 12-17 age group appeal following backlash from child advocacy group
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Durban – Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla has appointed an Appeal Committee to adjudicate on the matter of Covid-19 vaccines for the 12-17 age group following backlash from child advocacy group, Free-the-Children Save the Nation.
Speaking during his weekly presentation on the country’s progress on Covid-19 and the vaccination roll-out, Phaahla said the matter is between the advocacy group and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).
In October last year, the department announced that children aged between 12-17 were eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations.
"This was in line with then Sahpra’s approval of Pfizer vaccine for vaccination of children of this age group, and subsequent recommendations by the Ministerial Advisory Committee," he said.
Phaahla said this announcement had led to disputes by some sections of society, which include Free-the-Children Save the Nation, which formally appealed the decision to approve Covid-19 vaccines for children which ultimately led to government’s announcement to vaccinate children.
"They argued that children are at effectively no risk from Coronavirus, therefore do not require vaccination for their own protection," the minister said.
The NPO maintains that they are acting in the best interests of the youth.
"Our children need voices to speak for them. They are the future custodians of South Africa and their education must be world-class. As a nation we must accept that school children in good health are virtually immune to Covid-19, are not transmitters, and should be free to pursue their education unhindered and in a stress-free environment," the NPO said.
Phaahla said the committee was made up of Professor Glenda Gray, Dr Herman Edeling, Dr Stephen Schmidt, Professor Salim Abdool Karim and Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi.
The Appeal Committee met on Monday and unanimously agreed that the matter would be heard on Friday next week and on Monday, February 14.
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