J&J boosters could be soon available to South Africans

South Africans will soon know whether they will be eligible to receive the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine booster shot.

According to the department of health, this announcement is expected to be made once the Sisonke 2 study to monitor the effectiveness of the single-dose J&J vaccine boost on health workers, is concluded.

The manufacturer is currently awaiting for the booster to be approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA.

“For the general public, that application has been submitted so we expect that in a few weeks or so, the regulator should approve that,” health minister Joe Phaahla said.

“They will give us the approach: how long after the first dose should the second dose of the Johnson and Johnson [be given to] for the general public. We are doing this to make sure that all the people who want to be protected by vaccinations should have the opportunity.”

Phaahla received his J&J booster shot at Pretoria’s Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital on Tuesday.

“There’s a lot which we have been learning and there is still a lot that we don’t know. We know that these vaccines, even though they were produced in a short period of time, have proven to be very effective,” he said.

Phaahla added that those people who’d received the Pfizer vaccine some six months ago would be the first to be eligible for the booster shots of that vaccine at the beginning of January.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is currently self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, had been meant to receive his booster shot of the J&J vaccine alongside Phaahla. The latter encouraged South Africans planning to go on holiday to get at least one dose of either of the available vaccines.

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Marcia Zali
Marcia Zali is an award winning journalist

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