Sama calls for J&J booster shots for health workers before COVID fourth wave

Government is yet to decide whether the additional doses will be added to the vaccine rollout programme.

FILE: Nurse Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi was the first person in South Africa to receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, 17 February 2021. Picture: Siya Duda.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Medical Association (Sama) on Tuesday said it was in the best interest of healthcare workers to receive Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots before the fourth wave.

Last week, the company released data suggesting an additional shot can further boost immunity.

Government is yet to decide whether the additional doses will be added to the vaccine rollout programme.

ALSO READ: Side effects after booster dose similar to shot two: US study

Healthcare workers were first in line to receive the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

Now with data showing increased immunity with a second dose, the Sama's Dr Angelique Coetzee said prioritising these frontline workers was key.

She's hoping the recommendation of booster shots will be approved soon as the threat of a fourth wave looms.

“And this should happen before the fourth wave, so we think that the fourth wave is going to start in November. So, it would be prudent for the health workers to get it either end of October or beginning of November latest,” she said.

Coetzee said implementing that remained essential despite the current decline in the demand for vaccines.

“So you want them to be protected to keep the hospitals and healthcare system going. So it should be a process of balancing,” she added.

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