National Immunisation Safety Expert Hannelie Meyer says despite reports that the effectiveness of some COVID-19 vaccines could decline over time, it remains important for people to get a level of immunity against the coronavirus.
Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla earlier said that a study has shown that the effectiveness of the jab could steadily decline over time, dropping to about 84% four to six months after getting a second dose.
The study found its effectiveness was strongest at 96.2% between one week and two months after receiving the second dose.
United States health officials are mulling over whether there is a need for a third dose to boost immunity protection.
Meyer says the benefits of the vaccines continue to outweigh the risks.
“There are so many unknowns out there. But yes, based on the data from the US, they have seen increased numbers of breakthrough infections. However, a large majority of these have been mild infection. So, it is clear that protection against the virus is beginning to decrease over time. But we need to look at the benefits and the risks. It is clear from the data out there that these vaccines, despite everything else, do protect against severe disease, hospitalisation and death. If you look at who is landing up in hospital and dying, it is those who are not vaccinated.”
Pfizer seeks US approval for COVID vaccine booster
Pfizer Inc on Wednesday said a booster dose of its two-shot COVID-19 vaccine spurs a more than threefold increase in antibodies against the coronavirus, as the company seeks US regulatory approval for a third injection.
The US government has said it was gearing up to roll out the third shot of vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna Inc from mid-September to Americans who had their initial course more than eight months ago if the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decide that boosters are needed.
Pfizer said 306 people given a third dose of its vaccine between five and eight months after their second shot showed levels of neutralizing antibodies that were 3.3 times the levels seen after their second shot.
The study, details of which have not yet been published, also found that side effects of a third shot were similar to second-dose reactions, including mild to moderate fatigue and headache, the company said.
Psychologists say vaccine hesitancy stems from several factors including a lack of information as well as group thinking influence. The World Health Organization (WHO) says vaccine hesitancy is one of the global health threats.
Psychologists say more needs to be done to address vaccine hesitancy in the country.
In the video below, experts discuss vaccine hesitancy:
-Additonal reporting by Reuters