The South African Paediatric Association has encouraged healthy dialogue between parents, guardians and children over the COVID-19 vaccine.

Only one dose of Pfizer vaccine is due to be administered to children between the ages of 12 and 17 starting this Wednesday, 20th of October.

The Chairperson of the Paediatric Association Professor Mignon McCulloch has emphasized the importance of teenagers receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it decreases the risk of young people being hospitalised due to coronavirus-related illnesses.

“We are not going out there and forcibly take consent from people, obviously we would want to have a good conversation with the parents and young people. But youngsters are much more mature these days and the law says from the age of 12, if you have a competent adolescent and they understand what they are consenting to, then this should be the way to go. We don’t want to cause strife in families or upset them but that is what is happening across the world. Vaccines are good, they are safe, they are out there to protect the whole community. We want to get our lives back and get kids back to school.”

Professor Mignon McCulloch on the importance of 12 to 17-year-olds getting the vaccine:

Professor McCulloch adds, “Children can get COVID, teenagers specifically behave more like adults and if children do get COVID they are still 10 times more likely to be admitted than if they did not get COVID. So it is a risk for everybody. We also want our children to be back at school, not to be missing their exams, we want them to have their lives back, to be socialising and doing sports. We are now saying that the time has come where we have vaccinated a lot of our population and it is time to fall into what the rest of the world is doing and vaccinate the teenagers.”