DON’T wait for the next family meeting to start taking care of yourself.

Those were the words of Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla after taking his Covid-19 J&J booster jab at Zuid Afrikaans Hospital in Tshwane on Tuesday, 14 December.

Phaahla is part of the first group of healthcare workers that received the single-dose vaccine under the Sisonke Trial at the start of the year.

Phaahla cautioned people not to wait for the government to create restrictions before they start taking care of themselves.

He said the coronavirus has been around for almost two years and people should know what they need to do to prevent themselves from getting infected. “The National Coronavirus Command Council will meet this afternoon (Tuesday) and only then will there be a decision on restrictions, if any,” he said.

Speaking on the booster jabs, Phaahla said the booster shots being administered to healthcare workers will lead the programme for the general population. He said it will be a few weeks before the public can get their booster shoots. He said they are following the same programme they started when the vaccines were first introduced.

“We want to protect health workers first because they are our frontline workers who are forced to deal with the virus head-on.”

He said the vaccines have proven to be working although they are still trying to determine how long they last in the body. He predicted that by 2023, the virus may be endemic, which means it will be like any other flu, but he was cautious in his prediction.