Government reduces the waiting time between booster shots

WHO concerned that vaccine equity in Africa might lead to new variants of COVID-19.
Government makes changes to waiting times between COVID-19 vaccine booster shots
Written by Kalay Nair

The health department has made several changes to the vaccination programme . This includes cutting the waiting time between the first and second doses of Pfizer from 42 days to 21 days as from Wednesday. 

In a statement released on. Monday morning, the department said that everyone fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine can now go for their booster dose three months after the second dose. The interval is currently 180 days. 

It also announced that all individuals older than 18 years of age who have received one dose of the Johnson &Johnson vaccine will as of today be able to receive a booster dose after two months. 

On-site availability will determine which booster will be administered

These are called heterologous booster doses, meaning booster doses of a different vaccine to the one given as the primary dose. 

“The decision regarding which vaccine to administer as a booster should be guided by vaccine availability. If both vaccines are available at the vaccination site, homologous boosting is preferred, unless a heterologous dose is asked for. Or if the person has a history of reacting adversely after being immunised, “ the statement read. 

The department is also updating the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) so that people who got their primary COVID-19 vaccine outside South Africa are able to register on the system for the booster dose. 

COVID-19 vaccinations are now also part of routine health services., meaning it can be co-administered with other vaccines. This will help to increase the immunisation coverage of all vaccines including but not limited to, influenza and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. Whilst the COVID-19 vaccination programme initially recommended a 14-day interval between an individual receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccination, this is no longer required. 

The health department continues to appeal to people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as vaccines remain the most effective weapon against the pandemic. – Health-e News


About the author

Kalay Nair

Kalay has worked in several news mediums including wire journalism and broadcast news. She was a parliamentary reporter at the SA Press Association before a stint at the Gulf News in Dubai. She joined the prime-time news team at eTV when she returned to South Africa. She was also part of the eNCA launch team, where she managed a national television newsroom, oversaw a team of reporters and planned major news events. She has a diploma in journalism from DUT, a certificate in financial journalism from Rhodes University; was a CNN fellow, and completed the WAN IFRA Media Management Online Training programme in 2020.

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