SA govt considering J&J COVID booster shots

An additional shot administered 56 days after the first provided 75% protection against symptomatic coronavirus in a global clinical trial, with the figure increasing to 94% in the US.

A healthcare worker at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital prepares a COVID-19 vaccination on the first day of the vaccine rollout to frontline workers on 17 February 2021. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Government is exploring the possibility of introducing Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots.

Last week, the company's data showed that its vaccine is more effective when supplied in two doses.

An additional shot administered 56 days after the first provided 75% protection against symptomatic coronavirus in a global clinical trial, with the figure increasing to 94% in the US.

Even when received after six months from the first jab, protection appears to be heightened.

Western Cape Department of Health's Dr Saadiq Kariem said: β€œAt the moment we are waiting for SAHPRA colleagues and the national health department to make a ruling on the booster shot, they are considering this.”

Kariem said once this recommendation was made, the jabs would be implemented if an agreement would be reached on the matter.

He said healthcare workers had already been requesting J&J booster shots after the latest data showed a higher level of immunity.

β€œA lot of health workers are hoping this will be implemented. Some of the literature emerging from overseas show that booster shots are effective and boost immunity. But we have to wait for the National Department of Health to make a ruling on this,” he said.

More than eight million South Africans have been fully vaccinated.

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