CAPE TOWN – The Department of Health on Tuesday decried claims by the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) that vaccinating children against COVID-19 amounted to child abuse.
This came as the party took the department to court, calling for an urgent stop to children vaccines.
Vaccinations for children between the ages of 12 and 17 opened in mid-October. The government said that this cohort would initially receive one shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine while they awaited data on whether to administer the second dose of the vaccination schedule.
“We don’t agree with those who say our decision to open vaccination for children is child abuse. We are saving lives. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an old person or a young person, there’s plenty of global evidence that vaccination saves lives, including the lives of children,” said Mohale.
One of the concerns raised by ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe was the lack of consultation with parents before opening up vaccines for children.
But Mohale maintained that this was because their focus was on consulting with medical experts and qualified virologists.
He said: “Even with the other age groups, there was no consultation and the fact of the matter is that vaccination in South Africa remains voluntary. We don’t force anybody to vaccinate. We educate them about the benefits of vaccines. We believe that it’s only through vaccination that the country will be able to go back to some sort of normalcy.”
In October, the party demonstrated against the possible implementation of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations and Meshoe said that anything forced into the human body constituted what he called “medical rape”.