The department also announced recipients will also be allowed to mix and match booster shots.
According to a circular released by the department of health over the weekend, as of Monday the 14th of March, South Africans who have previously received Johnson & Johnson's vaccine would now be eligible for an additional booster shot. Per the directive from the department, those who had received only one J&J vaccine shot so far, will be eligible for their first booster at least 60 days after the first dose. A second booster can then be administered at least 90 days thereafter. The news come as the country's officials mull further easing of COVID-19 regulations, joining growing voices across the world that the worst of the pandemic is behind us and societies need to learn to co-exist with the virus as part of normalizing henceforth.
Those who had received Pfizer's two-dose regimen, would be eligible to either receive a third Pfizer dose or a J&J shot 90 days after the second dose. Furthermore, South Africans are also allowed to mix and match their booster shots, which means they would have the option to choose between Pfizer or J&J's shots. "Both the first and second booster doses may be homologous or heterogeneous, " read the circular. The department further admitted that the Electronic Vaccination Database System (EVDS) had been malfunctioning, it expected these to be resolved soon. “COVID-19 vaccines remain the most effective weapon against the pandemic and protect against COVID-19 infection. Thus, all eligible people urged to vaccinate to protect themselves against the current and future variants,” added the circular.