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Your Covid-19 questions answered

I've had my Covid-19 vaccination — how long will I be protected?

The Covid-19 vaccine can provide protection for several months with booster shots encouraged to extended protection.
The Covid-19 vaccine can provide protection for several months with booster shots encouraged to extended protection.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The Covid-19 vaccine can provide protection for several months with booster shots encouraged to extend protection.

The International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities and World Health Organization recently issued updated guidelines for healthcare workers about the Covid-19 vaccine.

The organisations said the initial Covid-19 jabs (two doses of Pfizer or one of J&J) offer more than 75% protection from serious illness, hospitalisation and death. This protection can last for about six months.

“A number of 'real world' vaccine effectiveness studies have provided information on the duration of protection from different Covid-19 vaccines. Two doses of the major mRNA and adenovirus vaccines provided strong (over 75%) protection from serious illness, hospitalisation and death from the Alpha, Delta and original (wild type) SARS-COV-2 variants for six months.”

The emergence of the Omicron variant led to a recommended booster shot to extend protection, the organisations said. They did not advocate for a second booster unless you are immunocompromised.

“Early results indicate that protection against serious illness or death is maintained for many months or longer after a third vaccination

“At present, there is not a widespread view that a fourth vaccination (second booster) is required to maintain immunity, except for in people who are immunocompromised.”

IF I GOT MY INITIAL COVID-19 SHOTS, WILL I STILL BE PROTECTED WITHOUT A BOOSTER?

The organisations added that while getting your initial shots may offer protection, it will decrease over time without a booster shot.

“While those who become infected with SARS-CoV-2 following primary vaccination typically experience milder illness, protection against the level of severity of infection does seem to decrease over time without a booster vaccination.”

WHERE CAN I GET MY BOOSTER SHOT?

The SA government and private sector have introduced thousands of vaccination sites across the country where you can get your Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for free.

Click here to see vaccination sites in your area. You can also get the jab at Clicks or Dis-Chem pharmacies. You can find a Clicks vaccination site here and a Dis-Chem site here.

“We will be using a range of platforms, events and opportunities to make it easier for people to access vaccination services in the next few months. These will include sporting, cultural, and religious events. Such interventions will be crucial to ensure SA achieves its target of vaccinating 70% of its population,” said the health department. 


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