SAHPRA to consider Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine as a booster

The regulatory authority confirms receipt of an application to authorize Comirnaty as a booster shot.

On Monday, the 22nd of November, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, announced it had received an application for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to be used as a booster shot on 17 November 2021. "SAHPRA has received an application for the Pfizer Comirnaty Booster/3rd dose vaccine. The outcome of the assessment will be communicated in due course," it said in a statement. This will pave way for the vaccine which has been central in the fight against the pandemic to be assessed for use as a booster, as the country is increasingly concerned about a looming fourth wave, with new cases ticking up again. The announcement also follows the FDA decision on Friday to back emergency authorisations for Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines for use as booster shots.

Just recently, South Africa started issuing second shots of the J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine to health workers in an attempt to boost reportedly waning immunity. The decision closely followed the announcement of the FDA recommending a second dose of the vaccine for all Americans aged 18 years and older who had previously received a single dose of the vaccine. So far, more than 80,000 booster shots of the J&J vaccine have been administered in South Africa. Earlier in the year, a historic collaboration between the Department of Health, the SAMRC, Desmond Tutu Health Foundation, CAPRISA and J&J saw nearly half a million healthcare workers receive the pharma company’s COVID-19 vaccine, which has largely been credited for saving the country from the worst implications of the pandemic.