All South Africans over the age of 50 can take an additional or second booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine from next week, says health minister Joe Phaahla.
Addressing media on Friday (3 June), Phaahla said South Africans are encouraged to come forward in numbers, especially those living with co-morbidities like diabetes, cancer, HIV, TB or hypertension.
“It is my pleasure to announce that all people over the age 50 years can now receive an additional or second booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine with effect from Monday (7 June).
“However, in order to qualify for the additional dose, you should have received your last one, Pfizer or J&J, at least four months after the third Pfizer dose,” he said.
Phaahla added that while the number of Covid related hospitalisations are very low as compared to the last year this time, the government is worried that the majority of patients admitted to hospitals due to Covid-19 are those who are not vaccinated.
“This simply suggests that unvaccinated people remain vulnerable and if we were to be hit by another variant of concern or wave, unvaccinated people will flood our health facilities,” he said.
“You might not think you are not at risk of severe Covid but every day we admit people, especially youth to hospitals who are very sick due to Covid and the majority of those admitted have not been vaccinated. It is clear that vaccines do protect you, no matter how old or young you are.”
Data provided by Phaahla shows:
- South Africa has administered over 36 million doses, and more than 22 million people including children have been vaccinated.
- 70% of people over the age of 60 years have received at least one dose, and 65% of adults have been vaccinated.
- More than 50% of adults in South Africa have had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine
- More than 70% of people aged 60 years and above have been vaccinated.
“The lifting of the state of disaster management doesn`t mean the pandemic is over, and the less severity and transmissibility of the current COVID-19 variant of Omicron doesn’t mean we are now safe from the virus,” he said.