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Parents react to Health Ministry’s decision to start vaccinating children over 12 without parental consent
17 October 2021, 10:01 PM

Some parents and children have reacted with concern to the Health Minister’s announcement that children between the ages of 12 and 17 will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination without parental consent.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced on Friday morning that the decision was made following a recommendation from the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on vaccinations.

South Africa will start vaccinating this age group from Wednesday next week with a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

The government’s announcement follows the approval of the use of the Pfizer vaccine on children over the age of 12 by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) last month. And while there have been some cases of heart inflammation recorded in adolescents after a second dose globally, the South African government has assured parents and children that this poses no permanent risks.

For now, only a single dose will be administered until more information on the safety of a double dose becomes available.

The debate surrounding the safety of vaccines has been controversial. And although these parents aren’t against vaccines, they are unhappy about the government’s decision to allow children to be vaccinated without parental consent.

“Children of 14, 15 are too young. They don’t know what’s going on. It’s not right, they are still underage, so they still need to get permission. Even if the parents don’t allow that, just to let them know. They need the parents’ concern because they are still young, they don’t understand.”

These children who’ll be eligible for vaccination from the 20th, are skeptical.

“I am scared because people die after vaccinating, so sometimes it is a bit scary.”

“I don’t want it, I don’t know how to describe it but I won’t take it.”

“Never!”

Acting Deputy General in the Health Department, Dr Nicholas Crisp, says the children’s Act makes provision for children to get vaccinated without parental consent.

“So, the children’s Act makes provisions for children from the age of 12 to 17 — in other words, not yet an adult to give their own consent for medical treatment and there are provisions, sub-clauses of the Children’s Act that explain which children can get consent for what. So, children do not need their parents’ consent generally for any medical treatment and there are specific guidelines for that but parents can give consent for their children to get vaccinated.”

But family law attorney Shando Theron says while some medical procedures such as termination of pregnancy do not require parental consent, he’s warning against potential risks the government could face with this decision.

“What people are saying is let’s say my child goes against my wishes and go and get the vaccination and then there are medical complications. Will the government foot the bill? There’re a lot of questions that need to be answered but I can certainly understand the government’s reasoning of why they want to do this. But legally, my professional opinion is there is no law that gives the authority to do this, not yet at least.”

The South African Paediatric Association (SAPA) which welcomed the approval of Pfizer for children has also stressed that parents have nothing to be concerned about when it comes to the safety of the vaccine.

In the video below, Dr Phaahla gives further details: 

 

‘Halloween Kills’ Scores Bloody Great $50.3 Million Debut, ‘The Last Duel’ Bombs
17 October 2021, 8:10 PM

Universal and Blumhouse’s “Halloween Kills” topped the weekend box office with a $50.3 million debut. That’s a bloody good showing considering that the film is being released simultaneously in theaters and on-demand via Peacock, NBC Universal’s in-house Netflixchallenger.

That kind of distribution pattern has depressed ticket sales in recent months, with films like Warner Bros.'”Cry Macho” and “The Suicide Squad” failing to resonate with moviegoers when they were made available at the same time on HBO Max.

An exclusive theatrical release wasn’t enough to save “The Last Duel,” a lavish historical epic starring Adam Driver, Jodie Comer and, venturing very far afield from the Cambridge/Southiemilieu that made them stars in “Good Will Hunting,” Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The drama, which is set in 14th century France, bombed, grossing a pallid $4.8 million.

That’s a disastrous result given that the film cost north of $100 million and a sign that older audiences remain skittish about returning to theaters when COVID and its variants are still circulating. The film was inherited by Walt Disney after it bought 20th Century Fox Studios in 2019.

Ridley Scott, who also oversaw this fall’s “House of Gucci,” directed. Critics were kind, but that couldn’t save the movie, which is limping to a fifth-place finish.

Elsewhere, MGM, United Artists Releasing and EonProductions’ “No Time to Die” earned $24.3 million in its second weekend of release, good enough for a second-place finish. That’s a drop of 56%, which is roughly in line with how other James Bond films have performed in their sophomore frame.

It brings the film’s domestic haul to $99.5 million, a respected result in pandemic times. However, the problem for the 007 sequel is that it was greenlit in pre-COVID times and carries a massive $250 million price tag along with more than $100 million in promotional spending. Given those costs, “No Time to Die” will have trouble turning a profit during its theatrical run.

Sony’s “Venom Let The Be Carnage” slides in at third place, capturing $16.5 million in its web. That brings its domestic haul to $169.1 million, an impressive figure that guarantees audiences haven’t seen the last of this symbiote.

UAR and MGM’s “The Addams Family 2” nabbed fourth place with $7.2 million, pushing it’s domestic gross to $42.3 million.

“Halloween Kills” revives the un-killable Michael Myers(last seen incinerating in a house) and brings back franchise star Jamie Lee Curtis. David Gordon Green, who orchestrated the carnage in the 2018 reboot, returns as director.

They’ll all be back for more bloodletting with 2022 “Halloween Ends.” Given that this is a film series that dates back to 1978, that title is likely a misnomer.

SA records 414 new COVID-19 cases, 25 related deaths
17 October 2021, 7:43 PM

South Africa has recorded 414 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total cases to 2 916 593.

25 related deaths were also reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total fatalities to 88 612 to date.

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Herd immunity 

Senior Researcher at the CSIR, Ridhwaan Suliman says the current low numbers of coronavirus positive cases in South Africa is more likely linked to some level of herd immunity that has developed after the devastating third wave.

Around a quarter of adults have been fully vaccinated in South Africa. The third wave was driven by the highly infectious Delta variant.

The test positivity rate remains low at this stage and the death toll from COVID 19 continues to decline.

Dr Suliman has cautioned that a fourth wave of coronavirus is very likely towards the end of the year.

Dr Suliman’s weekly COVID-19 update:

West Ham snatch battling win at Everton
17 October 2021, 7:08 PM

Angelo Ogbonna’s late header earned West Ham United a 1-0 win at Everton on Sunday and lifted them to sixth in the Premier League table.

The visitors struggled to create clear-cut chances at Goodison Park with Everton aiming to move into the top four with a draw on Merseyside, but Ogbonna’s goal secured a vital three points for West Ham manager David Moyes against his former club.

“It was a good performance and this is a difficult place to come, as I know,” Moyes said. “(The goal) was one which we needed because we’d been knocking at the door in different ways, so we needed that to get over the line.

“I think overall we deserved it because of the way we played, we played some really good stuff. We had a lot of the ball, but maybe in the final third we could have been a bit cleaner.”

Neither side carved out any real chances in a cagey opening 45 minutes, with Alex Iwobi’s air shot going down as Everton’s best opening before England stopper Jordan Pickford kept out Jarrod Bowen at the other end.

The Blues did look to increase the tempo after the restart with Iwobi’s close-range effort bravely blocked by Ogbonna and Salomon Rondon flicking a header just wide of the post.

West Ham made them pay with 15 minutes left when Ogbonna got above Ben Godfrey to nod home Bowen’s whipped corner.

Rafa Benitez’s side tried to rouse themselves in the final minutes, with substitute Anthony Gordon thrown on in search of an equaliser, but the visitors hung on to secure back-to-back Premier League wins at Everton.

“We played against a good team, they are big and strong and have quality and pace,” Benitez said. “We were fine on the counter attack but we were missing that final pass.

“We can talk about the corner, it wasn’t a corner for me, you have to protect your keeper in the six-yard box and it’s something that is difficult to understand in England because that is why you have the six-yard box – to ensure the keeper is more protected.

“Anyway it was a corner, we conceded and after that, we have to be better on the ball. The reaction was there but when you play against a very good team, that is well organised, you have to be more precise and we were not.”

Government under pressure to reconsider using Karpowership amidst corruption allegations
17 October 2021, 6:16 PM

Environmental experts and civic bodies are putting increasing pressure on government to reconsider using Karpowership to supply emergency power to South Africa due to corruption allegations against the Turkish company.

The losing bidder for the emergency power contracts, DNG Energy, has also made fresh corruption allegations against Karpowership and a government official.

In a supplementary affidavit to court papers, DNG alleges that businessmen who are now partnering with Karpowership approached the firm’s CEO for a bribe.

Karpowership has faced numerous challenges since the government in March granted it the biggest share of a 2 000-megawatt emergency power tender to provide the cheapest and quickest option for electricity.

In June, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment refused environmental approvals for the three gas-to-power projects for reasons including that it did not comply with public participation rules.

Earlier in September, the High Court agreed to postpone an appeal against the emergency tender brought by DNG Energy, a local company, which was not chosen from 11 preferred bidders and wants the decision overturned.

Any delays in finalising the emergency power tender could prolong an energy crisis that has cost Africa’s largest industrial nation billions of rands in lost revenue due to regular electricity blackouts.

Lobby groups await Nersa’s account on approval of floating power stations: 

Weather

 

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