South Africa approves use of Pfizer booster jab amid rising COVID cases

South Africa has reportedly approved Pfizer's booster jabs for people 18 years and above. The decision comes after rising concerns following highest recorded cases of COVID at around 20,000 being reported overnight, primarily attributed to the new Omicron variant.

The SAHPRA (South African Health Products Authority) has approved the use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty after BioNTech and Pfizer declared that the two doses of the vaccine together might not be sufficient for protecting against the Omicron Variant.

The authority said that the vaccine's third dose could be given to people over the age of 18 years at least after six months of getting their second jab or after 28 days of their second jab for individuals over 12 years who are strictly immune-compromised.

Around 60% of the infections were recorded from the Gauteng Province, the country's economic hub, as there have been speculations that a more severe lockdown can be imposed.

Currently, South Africa is at the lowest level of its five-level lockdown strategy.

President Cyril Ramaphose planned to hold an urgent meeting with the Corona Command Council and his Cabinet immediately after returning from a week-long visit to four West African Nations.

There is a constant rising fear that the infections will continue to rise exponentially in other providers owing to the coming holiday season when people will be moving to their home from Gauteng and gathering for festive celebrations.

Health Minister, Joe Phaahla, has articulated concern over hospitals again filling up with cases of COVID-19. However, the majority of the patients were not critical.

He further cautioned to be more vigilant as hospitals are filled with babies, toddlers, and pregnant women on ventilator.

Additionally, there has been a significant rise in mental health issues linked with disruptions in daily life routines, increased social isolation and pressures associated with the loss of livelihoods.

Source Credit - https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-african-regulator-approves-pfizer-booster-vaccine-after-surge-in-covid-cases/article37906874.ece