Health dept commences with J&J booster shots

Friday, December 24, 2021

The Department of Health has announced that it will start administering the Johnson & Johnson booster shot from Thursday, 24 December 2021.

This is after the South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) on Wednesday approved the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) booster shot to be taken at least two months after the original dose for adults over the age of 18.

The local drug watchdog also authorised the heterologous booster, also known as mix-and-match jabs, for those who had the Pfizer jab, at least after six months after the second dose.

However, according to the department, only homologous boosting is currently permitted, meaning people may only get the same vaccine that they received as their primary vaccination series.

This means people who received the J&J jab on 24 October 2021 or before, and from then on (at least two months interval) will be next in line to receive the second dose of the J&J vaccine.

“The recommended interval is after two months but preferably before six months from the primary dose,” the department said.

In addition, immunocompromised people who have received a second dose of the J&J shots will be illegible to receive a booster dose 60 days after receiving the additional dose.

“The Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines for COVID-19 (VMAC) has advised the Minister regarding booster vaccines,” the Health Department said.

In addition, the department said from 28 December 2021, the National Vaccination Programme would provide Pfizer booster vaccinations to anyone who received their last dose at least six months since the second primary dose.

This comes after SAHPRA authorised the administering of the third dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adults and children with a weak immune system.

The department explained that booster shots are the same vaccine in the same dose administered to people who have had a primary vaccination series and administered to allow the body to enhance its immunity against the virus. –