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I took the Covid-19 booster shot. This is what you can expect

File picture: Pexels

File picture: Pexels

Published Mar 19, 2022


The Department of Health has recently reduced the time between first and second doses of Pfizer vaccine from 42 days to 21 days as well as reduced the waiting time between a second Pfizer shot and booster from 180 to 90 days.

While the vaccine selfies and “I got my vaccine” posts are (kind of) a thing of the past, vaccine boosters are a crucial step in the fight against Covid-19.

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Bear in mind, that the side effects for vaccines and boosters differs from person to person, but this is more or less what you can expect before and after you take the Covid-19 vaccine booster.

The queue was short and just like the first and vaccine jabs, the overall process took under 30 minutes.

You are asked if you have any flu-like symptoms and are expected to bring your ID and your Covid-19 vaccination record card. You receive a page on which has your name, your ID number, the time which you will get your jab and the time you can leave the venue after the 15-minute wait.

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When you get inside the tent, they ask you a few questions about your health. They also make sure whether its a booster shot or the vaccine jabs. Then its time for the injection. Fun times.

When you are done, you hand the page to the worker and sit down for the longest 15 minutes of your life. I assume you hand it in so you don’t up and leave before your 15 minutes is up. Feel free to play a game of Solitaire while you wait.

In terms of side effects, you can expect tiredness, body aches, and pains, a fever and pain.

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Some may also get very rare side effects, for example, myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle.

These side effects resolve completely within 24 to 48 hours.

You might also be wondering why you should get the booster shot if you took the vaccine. This is a valid question.

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Vaccines reduce severe disease and mortality by up to 95 to 97% so taking a vaccine will protect you and your loved ones from a devastating illness and/or death.

But as variants emerged, research has shown that protection against Covid-19 is related to antibody levels. Booster vaccination increases these antibody levels and ‘T-cell responses’ to SARS-CoV-2.

High antibody levels are more effective at neutralising variants of SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, booster vaccines are helpful to improve protection from infection, especially during the fourth wave which is predominantly due to the Omicron variant.

From February 23, 2022, those older than 18 years of age who received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine can get their second dose after 21 days (previously, this was 42 days).

Individuals older than 18 years of age who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine can get their third booster dose after 90 days (previously this was 180 days).

With regards to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, from February 21, 2022, individuals older than 18 years of age who received their first dose of the J&J vaccine can get their second booster dose after 60 days.

You are also now able to get a mixture of the J&J and Pfizer vaccines against Covid-19 in South Africa.

You just have to be fully vaccinated with the one, then ask for the other as a booster, after either 60 or 90 days, depending on which you got first.

This booster will help against the latest omicron variant.

“There is good evidence that booster vaccination increases antibody levels to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and that higher antibody levels offer more protection against variants, including Omicron,” said the National Institute For Communicable Diseases (NICD).