SA health products regulator approves Pfizer booster shots for people 18 and up

The Pfizer vaccine is done in two parts and the booster will be administered to people 18 and older at least six months after the second dose has been received.

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The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) on Wednesday announced it approved the use of a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine. It has been approved only for those who have received the Pfizer vaccine already.

The Pfizer vaccine is done in two parts and the booster will be administered to people 18 and older at least six months after the second dose has been received.

People aged 12 years and older who have severely compromised immune systems can receive the booster at least 28 days after their second jabs.

Sahpra initially approved the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on 16 March 2021, in terms of section 21 of the Medicines and Related Substance Act (Act 101 of 1965).

"The data provided only dealt with the situation of homologous boosting, where the third dose is of the same vaccine as the initial course [in this case, two doses]," Sahpra explained.

It said it knew that there was interest in the efficacy and safety of having one type of vaccine followed by a booster of a different make. Data on this is yet to be submitted and decided upon. In South Africa, two vaccines were available, namely Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson. Johnson and Johnson is a single dose vaccine.

"Sahpra is aware of the keen interest in the efficacy and safety of heterologous boosting regimens - so-called “mix-and-match” approaches - and invites the submission of supportive data in this regard."