Second Pfizer booster shot available in SA for 50 and older
As of Monday, 6 June, those living in South Africa 50 years and older can head to vaccination sites for their second Pfizer Covid-19 booster. More than seven million of the nearly 20 million adults who have been vaccinated so far are in this age group.
South Africans aged 50 years and older are now eligible for an additional booster of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. The Department of Health instituted the change to the vaccination schedule from Monday in an effort to increase vaccine uptake and achieve population immunity, while protecting the most vulnerable groups in society.
“[The] Pfizer vaccine has shown to be safe and effective for boosting immunity in older persons, who remain at highest risk of severe disease and death from Covid,” said a Department of Health media release on Sunday.
The second Pfizer booster is only available to those who received their previous vaccination — whether Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson (J&J) — at least 12o days or four months earlier.
South Africans were able to get their first Pfizer booster from 28 December 2021, while the first J&J booster shots were made available from 24 December 2021. Overall vaccine coverage in the sub-region has remained low, however.
Speaking at the Second Global Covid-19 Summit on 12 May, President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasised that many more people needed to have access to Covid vaccinations if a regression to the “catastrophic early days” of the pandemic was to be avoided.
“The global health recovery will not be inclusive as long as millions of people in developing economy countries remain unvaccinated,” he said, adding that African leaders were committed to achieving 70% vaccine coverage through mass campaigns across the continent.
Only 45.6% of the adult population in South Africa is fully vaccinated, according to the latest statistics. This equates to just over 18 million people out of a population of nearly 40 million.
Of the total number of adults who have been vaccinated, more than seven million are aged 50 years and older, according to the Department of Health.
“We applaud older people for coming forward in large numbers and we encourage all individuals who have not had their second dose or booster dose to go to their nearest vaccination site,” said the department. DM/MC
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