The South African government has advised that booster shots to treat Covid-19 patients be given to individuals with compromised immunity as part of the ongoing fight against the pandemic in the country, Health Minister Joe Phaahla has announced.The minister said that the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19 vaccines came to this conclusion that some patients needed to receive a booster shot after the protection provided by the original shots had begun to decrease over time.
The booster shot is designed to help people maintain their level of immunity for a longer period, he added.
Phaahla said booster shot recipients would include those who “are on long-term oral steroid therapy for auto-immune conditions and various treatments for haematological or immune malignancies.”
The group would also be made up of those people “with solid organ or bone marrow transplants, renal dialysis and primary immunological disorders,” he said.
“The advice is that these categories of patients be offered an additional dose over the prescribed normal. But this must be strictly under the referral by their medical doctor under their supervision,” Phaahla said.
The booster shots are part of the South African government’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19 and the national vaccination rollout programme which started in February 2021 using the double-dose Pfizer vaccine.
The vaccination programme has expanded using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, to include other populations like the youth, and children aged between 12 and 17 years.