South Africa: Study Reveals High COVID Protection From J&J Shot

According to the co-head of a trial in South Africa, Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ.N) COVID-19 vaccine is functioning well, providing protection against severe disease and mortality. 

The J&J vaccine was given to healthcare workers starting in mid-February in a research project that ended in May, with 477,234 people inoculated, according to joint main investigator Glenda Gray. 

The J&J injection was approved by South Africa’s health regulator in April, and it is now used alongside Pfizer’s vaccine in the country’s national vaccine program.

The single-shot J&J vaccine, according to Gray, offers 91 percent to 96.2 percent protection against death, 67 percent protection against hospitalization when the Beta coronavirus variation prevails, and roughly 71 percent protection 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.

Bunnaj Africa learnt that South Africa’s vaccination campaign got off to a shaky start in February after the government paused AstraZeneca (AZN.L) vaccinations because of a small trial showing the shot offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness caused by the Beta variant, which was dominant in the country at the time.

Vaccinations have recently increased, and as of Thursday, over 8.3 million people had been immunized. 

At the same conference, newly appointed health minister Joe Phaahla stated that the government intends to begin employing other vaccines approved by the agency, including the Sinovac shot.

“It was approved … also that the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has now been shown to be effective against the Delta variant, that we should also look at bringing it back into use,” Phaahla said.

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