In the Department of Health (NDoH) Circular 1 of 2023, the Department suggested the administration of the Cominarty® vaccine as an additional booster dose based on availability. However, the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may also be used based on patient preference and drug availability.
The NDoH has stated in previous communications that COVID-19 vaccines remain effective against the XBB.1.5 sub-lineage, i.e., ‘Kraken’ variant, and remain an important preventative measure against severe illness. In addition, according to the latest communication from the NICD (11 January 2023), the public are urged to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and boosters to reduce the risk of hospitalisation or death.
Internationally, scientists are unsure how transmissible the XBB.1.5 variant is and suggest that people previously vaccinated may not have sufficient immunity to guard them against an XBB.1.5 infection. However, vaccines are still deemed to be effective against severe disease, hospitalisation and the effects of long COVID. The DoH’s approach is in line with communication from the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) as well – you can read more here https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html
As such, both COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the new lineage and the choice is based on vaccine availability and patient preference, without preference of one vaccine over another. The choice of COVID-19 vaccine is dependent on product availability.
Importantly, getting a booster dose is currently the most effective strategy against severe illness from the new Kraken variant.
Important contact numbers
Fedhealth Customer Contact Centre: Monday to Thursday 08h30 – 17h00; Friday 09h00 – 17h00.
Call 0860 002 153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fedhealth Nurse Line and Emergency Medical Services: 0860 333 432 Paed-IQ: 0860 444 128 and SOS Call Me: *130*3272*31# Press 1. Emergency Medical Services; 2. Nurse Line; 3. MediTaxi
Visit the Coronavirus Hub on the Fedhealth website: https://www.fedhealth.co.za/covid-hub/ You can also use the WhatsApp service (click on https://wa.me/27600702479 from your mobile device) for assistance.
Important COVID-19 resources
COVID-19 online resource and news portal: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD): https://www.nicd.ac.za/