By Faith Nyasuguta
South Africa has confirmed that the Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine is working excellently in the country, shielding residents from death and severe illness.
The J&J vaccine was given to South African frontline health workers in a research study running between February and May.
Addressing a media briefing over the weekend, Glenda Gray, the research’s lead investigator, said some 477,234 health workers have already received the jab.
In April, South Africa’s health regulators gave a nod to the usage of the J&J shot in the country’s vaccination program alongside the Pfizer shot.
According to Gray, the single-shot J&J vaccine gives between 91 and 96.2 percent protection from death.
For the Beta strain, the jab offers about 67 percent protection from hospitalization whereas 71 percent protection is offered against hospitalization when the Delta variant is dominant.
“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 can say this vaccine protected health workers against death,” she added.
In February, South Africa’s vaccination campaign has a shaky start after the nation halted giving AstraZeneca jabs over revelations that they offered very little shielding from mild to moderate illness from the dominant Beta variant.
More residents have however received jabs with way over 8.3 million vaccinated by the end of last week.
Joe Phaahla, the freshly appointed health minister indicated that South Africa is set to start administering other Covid-19 jabs approved by the state, among them 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.