The Department of Health has announced that it will begin administering the Johnson & Johnson booster from Thursday, December 24, 2021.
This is after the South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) on Wednesday approved the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) booster to be taken at least two months after the initial dose for adults over the age of 18.
The local drugs watchdog also allowed heterologous booster, also known as mix-and-match jabs, for those who received the Pfizer jab, at least six months after the second dose.
However, according to the department, only homologous booster is currently allowed, meaning people can only receive the same vaccine they received as part of their primary vaccination series.
This means that people who received the J&J vaccine on or before October 24, 2021, and from that time (at least two months apart) will be the next to receive the second dose of the J&J vaccine.
“The recommended interval is after two months but preferably before six months from the primary dose,” the department said.
Also, immunocompromised people who have received a second dose of J&J injections will not be able to receive a booster dose 60 days after receiving the additional dose.
“The Minister’s Vaccine Advisory Committee for COVID-19 (VMAC) advised the Minister regarding booster shots,” the Department of Health said.
Additionally, the department said that beginning Dec. 28, 2021, the National Immunization Program will provide Pfizer boosters to anyone who received their last dose at least six months after the second primary dose.
This comes after SAHPRA authorized the administration of the third dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adults and children with compromised immune systems.
The department explained that the boosters are the same vaccine at the same dose given to people who have had a series of primary vaccinations and given to allow the body to build up its immunity against the virus.