Africa-Press – Rwanda. The Ministry of Health will start administering the Covid-19 vaccine to children of 12 years old and above in the city of Kigali from Tuesday, November 23.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry on Sunday, November 21, the programme is meant to cover the whole country. “Research has already confirmed that the youth can also be given the vaccine, starting from 12 years of age,” it read.
Dr. Tharcisse Mpunga, the State Minister in charge of Primary Healthcare noted that before the children will be given the vaccine, their parents will have to sign consent forms that show that they have given them permission to be inoculated.
“We are working with schools, so that parents can sign for the children to give them permission to be vaccinated. All schools will collect consent forms signed by parents for the children,” he said.
Speaking about the importance of vaccinating the children, Mpunga said that despite the fact that they are not prone to developing serious illness due to Covid-19, they can always catch the virus like other people and thus spread it.
“In places where the children have been vaccinated, there have been good results. It is important for children to continue studying, as it reduces the possibility of closing schools,” he said.
A number of countries have authorised vaccination of children against Covid-19, among which is the United States of America, Costa Rica, Canada, Austria, Denmark among others.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), children and adolescents tend to have milder disease compared to adults, and so, unless they are part of a group at higher risk of severe Covid-19, it is less urgent to vaccinate them than older people, those with chronic health conditions and health workers.
WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) has concluded that the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine is suitable for use by people aged 12 years and above.
However, the WHO noted that more evidence is needed on the use of the different COVID-19 vaccines in children to be able to make general recommendations on vaccinating children against Covid-19.
So far, Rwanda has inoculated more than 5.5 million of its residents with at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Of these, more than 2.9 people are fully vaccinated (with two doses).