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South Africa approves COVID-19 vaccine for teenagers

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South Africa’s health regulator has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for teenagers aged 12 and older.

According to the South African Health Products Authority, the decision to approve the vaccine for teenagers was made after a review of updated safety and efficacy information submitted by the company in March this year.

The approval, as reported by Reuters, has now thus paved the way for COVID-19 vaccination in children in South Africa.

Recall that the World Health Organisation had recently disclosed that a phase 3 trial of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in children aged between 12 – 15 showed “high efficacy and good safety in this age group, leading to an extension of the previous age indication from 16 years onwards down to age 12 onwards.”

The WHO had in a statement said, “Evidence suggests that adolescents, particularly older adolescents, are as likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 as adults.

“WHO recommends that countries should consider using the vaccine in children aged 12 to 15 only when high vaccine coverage with 2 doses has been achieved in the high priority groups as identified in the WHO Prioritization Roadmap.

“Children 12-15 years of age with comorbidities that put them at significantly higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, alongside other high-risk groups, may be offered vaccination.”

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