Cape teen, 12, says she owes it to her peers to set an example by getting Covid-19 vaccine
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Cape Town - An Observatory teenager, who was the first 12-year-old to be vaccinated at the City’s Hope Street Clinic this week, said that she owes it to her peers to lead by example.
On Wednesday, vaccinations for 12-17-year-olds opened for the first time following the go-ahead from the National Department of Health on October 15.
Mieke Jooste, a Grade 7 learner from Cecil Road Primary School, was the youngest to be vaccinated at the facility and encouraged other children to get their Covid-19 vaccine.
"I owe it to my peer group to set an example,“ Jooste said.
“This pandemic has caused a lot of pain amongst family and friends and neighbours. Sadly, even our teachers have succumbed to this demonic pandemic.
“I also know that children my age are apprehensive and fear the vaccine because of the many conspiracy theories,” she said.
“My arm was in pain, but I would encourage all 12-year-olds to go and get their jab if we are serious about ending this pandemic,” said Jooste.
“Covid-19 has turned our world upside down. The adults called it the new norm, but it is abnormal. Many people are dying and are buried without family members present. I pray that this nightmare is soon something of the past.”
The newly-added cohort will be receiving just one dose of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
Mieke’s grandfather, Colin Jooste, expressed that the roll-out for children could not have come at a more opportune time.
"The timing is perfect. Children have a right to good health and life. We have no guarantee how many variants will still emerge, presenting a greater danger to the children, so we need to be proactive. A few steps ahead of this invisible disease that has contaminated our world.”
The University of Cape Town’s Children’s Institute stated that according to the Children’s Act (129), children could consent to medical treatment, including vaccinations, if: the child is over the age of 12 years; and the child is of sufficient maturity, and has the mental capacity to understand the benefits, risks, social and other implications of the treatment.
Isabel Magaya from the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria said: “Consent plays a significant role in the realisation of the right to physical and psychological integrity because it allows an individual to make decisions about their bodies, such as getting the Covid-19 vaccine.”
The Western Cape government, meanwhile, said that it would deal with any possible court challenge brought against it for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 getting vaccinated against Covid-19 without parental consent, if such a case emerges.