POLL | Will you force your child to get the vaccine if they are not keen?

20 October 2021 - 12:10
Covid-19 vaccinations are open for children in the 12 to 17 age group.
Covid-19 vaccinations are open for children in the 12 to 17 age group.
Image: 123RF/Katarzyna Białasiewicz

Children between the ages of 12 and 17 are now able to get the Covid-19 vaccine, and this is splitting opinions online.

The move was announced last week by health minister Joe Phaahla, after consultation with health experts and bodies, and on the recommendation of the Vaccine Ministerial Advisory Committee supported by health MECs and the cabinet.

They will receive one dose of the Pfizer vaccine because it is safest while experts study reports of chest pains and temporary heart inflammation from mostly males in this age group who received the second jab.

Director-general of the national health department Nicholas Crisp said children who want to be vaccinated are not required to get consent from their parents because the Children’s Act provides for 12 to 17 year olds to give their own consent for any medical treatment.

However, Johannesburg divorce lawyer Shando Theron said this is not accurate.

“There is no law that says that. As a matter of fact, there are laws that pretty much say the opposite. In terms of section 17 of the Children’s Act, a child under 18 can’t give consent. There are certain exceptions, but they are written into laws. 

“There is no law that says ‘for the Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer vaccine you don’t require the consent of your parents’. The high court is the upper guardian of all children, not the minister of health.”

Social media has been flooded with reaction to announcement, with many saying they want their child to get the vaccine but the child is hesitant, while others said they did not want their children to get the jab, despite them wanting it.

TimesLIVE spoke to children about getting the vaccine. Many said they were  hesitant and wanted to find out more before getting the jab.

“I would like to know how efficient the vaccines are. Will people need to go for boosters each year if it does not work for the long term? I would not get vaccinated because different people have different reactions,” said 13-year-old Adam*.

Penelope* described the approval of the Pfizer vaccine as “intense,” but said she understands the benefits of getting the jab.

“They said on the news the vaccine won’t save you. It is not a cure, but it will help you fight against Covid-19. It won’t prevent you from getting it. You will still get it but you will have mild symptoms,” she said.

* Not their real names