It was only at the start of December that SAHPRA announced it was giving the nod for a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two shots – the booster is now given to people who are older than 18 and at least six months after the second dose has been received. The J&J and Pfizer vaccines are currently the ones being administered under South Africa’s rollout.
In light of the emergence of the Omicron variant, government is now under immense pressure to ramp up its vaccination drive, with just over 35.6% of the country’s adult population being fully vaccinated.
SAHPRA ALLOWS ‘MIX AND MATCH’ OF VACCINES
SAHPRA says it had received the application by manufacturers of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to begin giving second doses on 10 December. In addition, the health regulator has given the green light for those who’ve had the Pfizer doses to also be administered the J&J booster.
Those who have received the J&J shot may now line up for the booster after at least two months since they were first jabbed. While those who got the Pfizer vaccine need to wait at least six months after receiving their second shot before they can be administered the booster.
“A booster dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen (0.5 mL) may be administered as a heterologous booster dose following completion of primary vaccination with an approved mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The dosing interval for the heterologous booster dose is the same as that authorised for a booster dose of the vaccine used for primary vaccination”
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA)
SAHPRA’s announcement, particularly allowing the Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines to be mixed, is considered progress in the country’s vaccination rollout. The health regulator has been criticised by some in the industry for not yet having a clear stance on the matter.
When SAHPRA CEO Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela was on eNCA, she said there were various factors to consider when allowing for a booster shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be administered.
The South Africa News