South Africa study shows high COVID protection from J&J vaccine

PUBLISHED: Fri, 06 Aug 2021 09:55:17 GMT
Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo
A healthcare worker receives the Johnson and Johnson coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination at Khayelitsha Hospital near Cape Town, South Africa, February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is working well in South Africa, offering protection against severe disease and death, the head of a trial in the country said on Friday.

The J&J vaccine was administered to healthcare workers from mid-February in a research study, which was completed in May, with 477,234 health workers vaccinated, joint lead investigator on the trial Glenda Gray told a media briefing.

South Africa’s health regulator approved the J&J shot in April, and it is being used in the national vaccine programme alongside Pfizer’s.

Read more: J&J to send 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to South Africa by end-June -President Ramaphosa

Gray said the single-shot J&J vaccine offered 91% to 96.2% protection against death, while offering 67% efficacy when the Beta coronavirus variant dominates and about 71% when the Delta variant dominates.

“Consistently after receiving the vaccine, there was very little death occurring in the vaccinated group as compared to the control group and showing a remarkable up to 96.2% protection against death,” Gray said.

“This was our primary endpoint and we are able to say this vaccine protected health workers against death,” she added.

(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Jason Neely and Alexander Smith)

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