Health Dept approves second dose of Pfizer vaccine for 12-17 age group

The department on Thursday said that it was stepping up the fight against the Omicron variant as infections increase.

In this file photo taken on 30 December 2020, vials of undiluted Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to administer to staff and residents at the Goodwin House Bailey's Crossroads, a senior living community in Falls Church, Virginia. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

CAPE TOWN - The Health Department has approved a second dose of the Pfizer vaccination for the 12-17 age group.

The department on Thursday said that it was stepping up the fight against the Omicron variant as infections increase.

It said that it had opened the electronic vaccination data system for the second dose of Pfizer vaccines for the 12 to 17 age group.

Department spokesperson Foster Mohale: " The SMSes have been sent to all those that have qualified for the second vaccination dose. All adolescents who have received the first dose while they were 17-years-old and who have now turned 18 can now receive the second dose of the vaccination."

Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said that he could not guarantee that there would be no new hard lockdown, but said that the government was opposed to this and was seeking to strike a balance between saving lives and livelihoods.

Cabinet is urging people to get vaccinated, saying this would prevent serious illness, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19, and would also offer protection against future variants.

“Our COVID-19 infections recorded in the last 24 hours stands at 19,842, which translates into a 26.8% positivity rate. We have also lost 36 people to COVID-19 related complications in the last 24 hours,” the minister said.

Gungubele said that a total of 26,781,642 vaccine doses had been administered to date; Cabinet has urged people aged 12 and older to get their jabs and to observe COVID protocols and avoid super-spreader events like parties, as statistics showed that the majority of those admitted to hospital were not vaccinated.