You may be freshly vaccinated or be making plans to get your first shot, and now there’s talk of booster shots.
So, what are they and why would we need them?
The effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine drops off over time, and a booster shot can extend that protection. Booster shots can also help fight highly contagious variants such as Delta.
Those who have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can receive a booster shot eight months after the date when they got their second vaccine dose – the point at which vaccine efficacy starts dropping. Data on the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not available yet.
Are they available in South Africa?
At the moment, wealthy countries have started rolling out booster shots, especially for immunocompromised individuals.
Booster shots are not available in South Africa yet, with government stating that they want to give as many people the vaccine before thinking of offering boosters.
Why are they controversial?
Many in the global public health community have criticised developed nations for offering booster shots while poorer countries still struggle to vaccinate even their most vulnerable members.
The World Health Organisation has called the decision immoral and has called for a pause on them while the rest of the world catches up on initial vaccinations.
Sources: World health organisation, The Washington Post, News24