The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has urged parents to avoid what it calls vaccine hesitancy to curb the rise in COVID-19 infections in young South Africans.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD), close to 10 000 people who are 19 years and younger were admitted to hospital for COVID-19 related complications between March 2020 and May 2021.

SAMA Vice-Chairperson Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa says, “We know that there are lots of things being said about the vaccines on social media. That would mean that we need lots of education to inform the public of their rights, but also the advantages of having a vaccine and the purpose of the vaccine and how far have we gone in terms of establishing what we call the safety of the vaccine, so that people are informed and they take an informed decision to take it or not to take it.”

New COVID-19 cases rise by 12 513 and deaths by 331:

So far, 2.5 million vaccinations have been administered using either the one-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine or the two-shot Pfizer alternative, out of a population of 60 million people.

Senior health official Nicholas Crisp more than 100 000 people had been vaccinated per day in the last two days and the target for next week is 150 000 a day. The aim for mid-July was 200 000 and 250 000 by the end of that month.

“The President has asked us to chase a target of 300 000 a day,” he said.

Acting Health Minister  Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said Pfizer had delivered nearly 4.5 million vaccine doses in the second quarter and had committed to providing just over 15.5 million doses in the third quarter.

J&J has delivered 500 000 shots for a research study targeting healthcare workers, 300 000 last week and 1.2 million on Thursday, Kubayi-Ngubane said.

A further 500 000 J&J doses are expected soon, but the timing is not yet confirmed.

“With this flow of vaccines, we will be able to press ahead with the vaccination of frontline workers sector by sector,” she said.

Delta variant explained: