Now that SA has signed an agreement for 20 million doses of Pfizer vaccines, does it open up the opportunity for kids under 16 to be vaccinated in the near future?

This is a question being asked by medical professionals and parents globally. In March 2021, vaccine manufacturers started trials on children between 12-15 years. AstraZeneca, the vaccine previously acquired by South Africa from the Serum Institute of India, recently halted trials on children due to a blood clot side effect in adults.

According to the World Health Organisation, “the Pfizer vaccine has only been tested in children above 16 years of age.”

“Vaccinations are currently not for pregnant women and children,” according to the health minister, Zweli Mkhize.

Oxford University made the following announcement recently. “We are awaiting the outcome of a review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of very rare and unusual blood clots in adults,” they say.

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“The trial of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in children continues with no safety concerns, though we delayed new vaccinations this week”, Oxford says.

South Africa’s vaccine

SA is currently using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with 200 000 further doses secured for the country, scheduled to arrive on 10 April.

The Pfizer agreement has been signed, and payment agreements are underway. If successful, SA will obtain 20 million doses.

Pfizer has rolled out vaccination trials on children and recently started running trials on children younger than in New York.

The current vaccination target for SA is 67% of the adult population

With SA’s current population of over 59 million, this would require 40 million people to be vaccinated. This will be for the purposes of achieving herd immunity. The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) approved the use of the J&J vaccine on 1 April 2021.

According to CNN, J&J CEO Alex Gorsky said “Johnson & Johnson is likely to have a Covid-19 vaccine available for children under the age of 18 by September.”

How many people vaccinated so far?

So far, 278 909 people have been vaccinated, and 39 721 091 people will still need the jab.

 

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