Another pupil, Amy Fusedale, said: “I am really happy that I have got my vaccine. I am just happy to do my part. It has been a long two years. So I am happy, I have done my part and I hope that others can too.”
The grade 10 pupil said she wanted to make sure that her family, especially the elderly, were safe after having witnessed some of her family members getting infected.
“Those two weeks were very painful, very long, and I just don’t want to experience that again,” said the 16-year-old.
Grade 9 pupil Humaira Dockrat said the reason she got vaccinated was to protect herself and others.
“I have seen all my family members get vaccinated and I am so glad that I am officially vaccinated. I sat down with my parents. At first I was a bit sceptical, but then my father spoke to me and I realised that it was the right thing to do,” she said.
Dr Shaeheda Omar from the Teddy Bear Clinic said there needed to be more concerted efforts and drive regarding the administration of vaccines to children.
“Because we know that children have been exposed to so much fake news, so much sadness, so many tragedies, so many losses, all the information that they have been exposed to over the past two years is a lot to process,” she said.
Omar said the strategy and efforts applied during the time when HIV was still new, should apply to Covid-19.
“I feel like that HIV/Aids has been addressed well, so that’s the cue for us to follow. A lot of effort was put into getting the children more informed, providing information for doing pre-test and post-test counselling, and ensuring that children are mature enough to give consent. It wasn’t just taking children randomly or taking consent from parents and just ensuring that children get tested for HIV,” Omar said.
She said having a blanket ruling was unacceptable.
“We need to ensure that the children are in a position to process this information, to understand, to develop insight and feel secure about receiving that vaccine. By forcing that they have to undergo it is unacceptable. We are always looking at the best interests of the child, according to the Children’s Act, and would it be in their best interests if they have sufficient or adequate information to empower them and help them understand why they are receiving the vaccination. I think this is something that needs to be done,” she said.