News & events


22 February 2022

Come back for boosters: Why time alone is not enough to get people to line up for their next shot

Nearly one in five people don’t return for their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, health department data shows. The health department hopes that shorter waiting periods between jabs will help to close this gap. Fully vaccinated adults in South Africa can now choose whether to get the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) or the Pfizer vaccine when they queue for a booster dose. So you get a Pfizer booster after a J&J shot or a J&J booster after two Pfizer jabs.

Everyone of 12 years and older can now also get a second Pfizer jab 21 days after their first jab (instead of the previous 42 days). However, the country’s most recent vaccine hesitancy survey, published in February and conducted by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the Human Sciences Research Council shows, sms messages may not be enough.

It found that the biggest reason why people in South Africa who want to get vaccinated against COVID, but don’t, is because they don’t know where to go. And research shows this is not an isolated problem in the country’s public health system. A small study published in 2005 revealed that the main reason why women don’t access safe, legal abortions is because they don’t know where to find a legal facility, or because they don’t know the service is legal in the first place.

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