Due to a technical glitch, the start of the
Sisonke Booster Trial for healthcare workers (HCWs) has been delayed by a day.
According to the Department of Health, it believes that healthcare workers who had
received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine as part of the original
Sisonke trial will be able to receive their booster shots from tomorrow.  Spokesperson, Foster Mohale told MedBrief
Africa that the department was testing the system over the weekend and could only
send messages on how the process will work to half of those who are eligible
for the second dose by last night.

Only healthcare workers who had received a
first dose of J&J through the Sisonke study earlier this year will be able
to get a second dose as part of the booster study.

The Boost Phase 3B study is aimed at
bolstering the immune responses of HCWs ahead of the fourth wave expected in
the next month or two in South Africa. The results will be used to guide future
decisions on JnJ boosters for the rest of the population.

“Sisonke was an important intervention to
protect our frontline health care workers. Now it is important to ensure that
protection is topped up with this boost ahead of potential new COVID-19 surges,”
says Prof Linda-Gail Bekker, Co-National Investigator of the trial.

Health workers who have received
unauthorised booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine after the JnJ jab are advised not
to accept an additional booster as there are insufficient safety data for such
a schedule.

HCWs who are eligible for the booster dose
should not reregister on EVDS. They will receive their SMS invitations to
participate in the booster study by tonight which will take them to a link
where they will need to complete an informed consent form before a new
vaccination voucher number starting with the letters BD will be sent to them.

Information on the closest vaccination
sites can be obtained from the Department of Health’s social media page or from
hospital managers. Healthcare workers whose cell numbers have changed since
receiving the first dose are requested to phone the National Coronavirus Call
Center at 0800 029 999 and ask an operator to update their numbers on their vaccination
records.