Vaccination against COVID-19 remains our best defence, especially if your immune system is compromised, as we are seeing increases in cases

Local and international data proves that vaccination against COVID-19 remains our best defense to beat this virus.

COVID-19 will not go away anytime soon, so to eventually defeat it we must eradicate it. The same as with Polio, same as with TB – we must continuously work against these viruses. Our main aim remains to ensure we have as many people as possible vaccinated AND get them boosted with additional doses.

Booster vaccines increases our level of immunity, making us more resistant to contracting and transmitting the coronavirus. If you are due for you booster, please get it!

 

While we are expecting a 5th wave this winter, it’s impossible to predict how severe it will be. Vaccination and natural immunity are protective – but the big unknown is a new variant and whether it will cause severe disease. There is much we can as individuals do to keep healthy and prevent transmission to others:

  • Ensure your COVID vaccines are up to date
  • Ventilate indoor spaces
  • Wear a mask when indoors and in crowded spaces
  • Get a flu vaccine, it is that time of the year
  • Know what to do when you have flu-like symptoms

To date, we have administered 5 338 948 vaccines with more than two-and-a-half million people already having received their full primary series and almost 3 million people having received their first dose. To add further protection, more than 450 000 people have taken up the opportunity to receive their booster dose along with 61 500 healthcare workers and 9 858 people living with immunocompromised conditions have received their additional dose. If you are currently due for you booster, we encourage you to go and get boosted as it will provide you immunity longer lasting protection.

Although we no longer have state of disaster, it is very important we continue protecting ourselves and others. We have heard about ‘Long COVID”. It is real. Long COVID is very real – many people who experience mild infections suffer from fatigue and cough for many weeks to months afterwards, impacting their quality of life. This has long and personal implications on one’s health. You can avoid it, by getting your vaccination.

 

Some people with immune-compromised conditions require additional doses of the vaccine. The following are associated with a weakened immune system when these additional dose of COVID vaccine is strongly advised to top up your immunity ahead of the 5th wave:

  • HIV infection with a CD4 count of less than 200 in the last 6 months
  • Blood or immune system cancers
  • Moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency disorders
  • You have had your spleen removed
  • You take high-dose steroids or biologics
  • You are receiving dialysis
  • You are a transplant recipient (solid organ or bone marrow)

For all vaccine doses, you can choose between a Pfizer or Janssen vaccine. Both vaccines are highly effective and safe. The best booster is the one in your arm! If you are living with a weakened immune system and are going for your third dose we recommend that at least one of your 3 doses be a Pfizer vaccine.

“I have multiple chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma. When I had the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine and the booster dose, I did so immediately because I know that I have a greater risk of becoming severely ill. The road is not always easy, but I know that my health is my responsibility. I’ve learnt that managing my chronic conditions is not only the responsibility of my healthcare team. I must also do my part by going for regular check-ups, following a healthy lifestyle, and protecting myself by getting the COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses”. Lindiwe Mguzulwa, Wellness coordinator for the Garden Route District

“As with any war we want to overcome, we need well trained and equipped Defense Forces. This pandemic will require our Immunological Defense Forces to be at full strength. Let’s teach, train and support our immune systems to conquer this pandemic the best way we know how. Get vaccinated.” Dr Gineile Mopp, COVID-19 ICU George Hospital

 

Who are immunocompromised and qualifies for an additional primary and booster doses?

Immunocompromised adults older than 18 years old are eligible to receive an additional primary vaccination schedule doses and booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Presently, persons are considered immunocompromised if they have

  • Haematological or immune malignancy
  • Moderate to Severe Primary immunodeficiency disorder
  • HIV infection with CD4 count < 200 cells/µL within the last 6 months
  • Asplenia
  • Individuals receiving the following treatments:
    • High dose steroids or systemic biologics (e.g. for autoimmune conditions)
    • Long term renal dialysis
    • Transplant recipients (Solid organ or bone marrow)