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Immunocompromised individuals eligible for additional COVID-19 shot

Additional doses for immunocompromised individuals must be prescribed by a doctor or a nurse prescriber and are not booster shots

Life Healthcare, in line with the Department of Health's recommendations, is encouraging immunocompromised individuals who are fully vaccinated to register for their additional dose of the vaccine, which is not to be confused with a booster shot.

“People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may not have built sufficient immune response after receiving their primary vaccinations and are, therefore, vulnerable to COVID-19 infections. Basically, this means that the body’s ability to fight off infections and other illnesses is weakened,” says Dr Louis Kathan, Life Healthcare Chief Medical Officer.

People who fall under the immunocompromised category require an additional dose of vaccine, which should be administered between one and three months after the previous dose/s with the recommended period being at the discretion of the referring clinician or doctor.

According to the guidance received from the South African Director-General of Health, Dr  Kathan says that anyone receiving cancer treatment, long-term kidney dialysis patients, HIV patients with CD4 count less than 200, asplenia (the absence of a spleen) as well as anyone who recently had an organ transplant, individuals undergoing immunosuppressants, or having any form of immunodeficiency disorder must visit their doctor to confirm if they are required to be scheduled for an additional dose of vaccine. It should be noted that the additional dose is not regarded as a booster shot.

Patients who are advised to take another dose of the vaccine should obtain a referral letter from their doctor, then visit Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) at  to register for vaccination using their ID number. They are required to register under immunocompromised individuals on the website. Patients are alternatively advised to visit any vaccination site with their referral letter from the doctor, ID document, vaccine code, and medical aid card if they have got medical aid cover. They must ensure that they are registered on the EVDS system for their additional vaccine dose.

Dr Kathan advised that “The EVDS will allow additional doses to be recorded as long as at least 28 days have elapsed since the previous dose was administered. These doses will only be administered to individuals 18 years and older. It is vitally important to ensure that immunocompromised patients are fully protected against COVID-19.”

Read the Department of Health circular on vaccination for immunocompromised adults for more information here.