South Africa Changes Vaccination Programme to Increase Uptake
South Africa Changes Vaccination Programme to Increase Uptake. Photo: iStockPhoto

South Africa is reducing the interval between first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, along with other changes, the Department of Health announced today.

The department said the modifications have been guided by scientific evidence, and are part of ongoing efforts to increase the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa where it has dwindled and there are ample vaccine stocks.

Updates to SA’s Vaccination programme include:

  • The time between the first and second dose of Pfizer has been reduced from 42 days to 21 days, with effect from Wed 23 Feb.
  • For those who have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, they’re now eligible for the booster dose 90 days (3 months) after the second dose, instead of the current 180 days (or six months) interval.
  • Anyone older than 18 who has received one dose of the Covid-19 J&J vaccine will, from today, be eligible to receive a booster dose of the same vaccine, or a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine, after two months (60 days).
  • Anyone over 18 who has received two Pfizer doses, will – from Wed 23 Feb – be able to receive a booster dose of the same vaccine OR a J&J vaccine, at least three months (90 days) after the second dose.

For the option of ‘mixing and matching’ doses, the department said being vaccinated with the same vaccine is preferable, unless a previous vaccination led to an adverse side-effect.

System Update for People Who Received Vaccinations Outside SA

The department is updating the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) to enable people who received their primary COVID-19 vaccinations outside South Africa, but are eligible to receive a booster dose, to be registered on the system to receive the booster dose.


“COVID-19 vaccines remain the most effective weapon against the pandemic and provide protection against COVID-19 infection,” the department said. – SAnews.gov.za