WRAP: COVID vax approved for minors in SA; new sites open at places of worship

The use of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 has been approved for children 12 years and older.

Children playing soccer in Juju Valley, an informal settlement in Polokwane, Limpopo. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The use of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 has been approved for children 12 years and older.

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The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has granted the approval.

This becomes the first vaccine against the virus approved for minors in the country.

It comes after the first child was vaccinated with one of two doses of the Sinovac vaccine on Friday, as part of the Numolux global trial.

The United States and various other countries have already started vaccinating children of 12 years and older with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

In South Africa, 2,000 children between the ages of six months and 17 years old are part of the Sinovac vaccine global study that will include 14,000 children across the world.

FIGHTING BACK A FOURTH WAVE

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor has explained that South Africa's vaccination efforts would be a key factor in limiting a potential fourth wave.

Pandor was speaking at the hand over a newly refurbished science laboratory at a Pietermaritzburg high school.

While she welcomed increased vaccination rates by men and the youth, she said more had to be done to reach the government's target of inoculating 70% of the population by December.

VACCINATION CENTRES IN PLACES OF WORSHIP

In a race to reach herd immunity by December, the Gauteng Health Department has partnered with faith-based organisations to set up vaccination sites at places of worship across the province.

Worshippers have put their faith in vaccines as the threat of a possible fourth wave of COVID-19 infections loomed.

The provincial government hoped churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship would also offer a familiar environment where people feel comfortable receiving a vaccine.

DAILY UPDATE

The daily COVID-19 fatality rate seems to have decreased slightly from the previous reporting cycle with a further 143 people succumbing to the virus.

This brings the total number of deaths since the outbreak on our shores to 84,751.

5,309 new cases were identified, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,854,234.

This increase represents a 10.7% positivity rate.

There has been an increase of 184 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours as well.

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