J&J Booster Shots Now Available In South Africa

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South African Health Products Regulatory bodies have authorized the use of booster shots for the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine. 


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South African Health Products Regulatory bodies have authorized the use of booster shots for the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine. 

The J&J Covid-19 vaccine was originally aministered as a single dose vaccine. However, over time immunity wanes and with new variants of the virus, the South African Health Products Regulatory Body (SAHPRA) have authorized the use of a second dose of the J&J jab. 

SAHPRA said in a statement, "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".

Individuals can get their J&J booster shots today while Pfizer Covid-19 booster doses have been available since 21 December. 

A second dose of 0.5 mL of Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen may be administered at least 2 months after the primary vaccination in individuals 18 years of age and older, said SAHPRA.

SAHPRA CEO, Dr Boitumelo Semete explains that vaccine efficacy and levels of antibodies generated by the body are measured during trial periods. This data is collected by vaccine manufacturers and provides their findings to health regulatory bodies. 

Semete says they fully understand the public’s concern around the safety of vaccines. However, she says they are satisfied with the data being made available to them. She adds that individuals under the age of 18 will not be eligible for a J&J booster shot yet. 

Progressive Health Forum convener, Dr Aslam Dasoo says they welcome the move but it could have been more timely. 

He said, “You know that people who had vaccines six months, eight months, nine months ago are demonstrating decreasing immunity as Omicron is demonstrating to us  and so this is most timely and very welcome that people will be able to get it from tomorrow”.  

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