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By Citizen Reporter


Sahpra approves J&J’s Covid booster shot for adults from Friday

The booster shot can be administered to people over the age of 18 at least two months after receiving the initial single dose of the vaccine.

The second dose of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine has been approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) as the country battles the new Omicron variant.

Second dose

In a statement released on Thursday, Saphra indicated that it approved the use of J&J vaccine as second dose or booster shot.

“Sahpra reviewed the safety and efficacy data provided and has subsequently approved the Covid-19 vaccines [J&J] second dose/booster dose,” the regulator said.

The booster shot can be administered to people over the age of 18 at least two months after receiving the initial single dose of the vaccine.

ALSO READ: Booster shots not part of SA’s vaccine roll-out – yet

Those who received the Pfizer vaccine, which is an mRNA vaccine, are also eligible to get a J&J booster shot.

“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,” Saphra said.

Sahpra previously approved the J&J vaccine booster doses for all healthcare workers who received the first shot as part of the Sisonke Study in October.

Earlier this month, the regulator also approved a booster shot of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for adults.

People over 18 years and older will be eligible for a booster shot six months after the second Pfizer dose.

READ MORE: Covid booster shots: ‘Why only now?’

The Department of Health has since confirmed that anyone who received their last dose at least two months prior can receive the J&J shot from Friday, 24 December.

“The recommended interval is after two months, but preferably before six months from the primary dose,” the department’s spokesperson, Foster Mohale said in a statement on Thursday.

Regarding the Pfizer third dose, citizens will be able to get their shot from next Tuesday, 28 December.

“Booster doses are the same vaccine in the same dose administered to people who have had a primary vaccination series and are administered to allow the body to boost its immunity to the Covid-19 virus,” Mohale added.

Why are booster shots needed?

The World Health Organization (WHO) said booster shots are needed when immunity or clinical protection has fallen below a rate deemed sufficient.

The aim of a booster shot is to restore vaccine effectiveness.

WHO’s Dr Katherine O’Brien explains: “Over time, the immunity that you received and achieved as a result of being vaccinated starts to wane, it starts to deteriorate or go down over time.”

She said there is “some evidence that there’s a small proportion of people don’t respond to the vaccine in the same way as a person without an immunocompromised condition”.

Covid-19 in SA

South African has battling with the Omicron variant, which has driven up Covid-19 infections on a daily basis.

As of 22 December, South Africa has recorded a total of 3,353,106 million cases of Covid-19, with 21,099 new cases identified in the past 24 hours.

This represents a positivity rate of 30.6%.

A further 99 Covid-19 related deaths were reported, bringing total fatalities to 90,587 to date, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed on Wednesday.

NOW READ: Omicron variant could signal ‘end of Covid-19’

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