• Sat. Aug 20th, 2022

Children Rights On The Spotlight As The State Vaccinates 12-17 Olds

ByLwazi Nongauza

Oct 16, 2021

 

Those are the words of Minister Joe Phaahla as he was briefing the media about the Covid-19 Coronavirus Vaccination Roll-Out Programme on Friday, the 14th of October.

According to the minister, the decision was taken after long consultations and trials in different parts of the country.

”This follows a recommendation by the Vaccine Ministerial Advisory Committee which was supported by Health MECs and Cabinet. 

We believe this will come handy as schools start exams or are advanced towards concluding the academic year and prepare for the next year.

The Pfizer vaccine has been approved by SAHPRA for this age group and will be used for this purpose.” said MinisterPhaahla

According to the minister, the underage children is set to start on Wednesday, 20 October to allow the necessary preparation on the EVDS and other logistics.
Right To Body Integrity 

Members of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) Alexandra Township leadership oppose the government for taking a decision to vaccinate learners who are under 18 years without consulting the students’ leadership organizations.

Alexandra COSAS leader Mpumelelo Maringa said the government decision doesn’t only undermine students leadership organizations but also infringing on the learners’ rights to bodily integrity.

”This decision to vaccinate learners by force, just for the sake of making sure that we all write exams is wrong, evil and illegal.

Chapter 2 of the South African constitutions guarantees everyone a right to bodily integrity.

The act clearly states that everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right— (one) to make decisions concerning reproduction; (two) to security in and control over their body; and (three) not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without their informed consent.”

On the other hand, Universities South Africa (USAf) CEO, Professor Ahmed Bawa, said that while vaccinating the university community could ensure that the academic programme was not disrupted, making the jab mandatory could further fuel vaccine hesitancy.

Religious Political Views

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Kenneth Meshoe said anything forced into the human body constituted what he called “medical rape.”

Members of the ACDP marched from Beyers Naudé Square to the Constitutional Court earlier on Thursday.

“Any object forced into a human being’s body in tantamount to rape. Governments are bringing another form of rape and are raping the nations. We’re saying no; no to rape, no to medical rape.” said Meshoe

Regulator’s Point of View

On the other hand, South Africa’s health regulator which approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in children aged 12 and older sided with the government on the decision to vaccinate 12-17-year-old learners.

In fact, according to the health regulator, the second dose of Pfizer will be administered soon but the timing of the second dose will be informed by further information on this rarely observed side-effect which has no permanent risk.

JHR tried to get a comment from the Department of Health about COSAS’s claims that administering vaccinations on 12 – 17-year-olds (who are not willing to get vaccinated) is a gross violation of bodily integrity.

All our attempts were not successful as the Department of Health spokesperson was not available.

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