South Africa reports first death thought to be linked to Covid vaccine

South African officials reported on Thursday that there was a causal link between the death of one person and Johnson&Johnson’s (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine. For the first time in the country a direct link was made in this direction.

At a press conference, senior scientists stated that a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome occurred shortly after J&J’s Janssen vaccine was given to the person in question. It was stated that the patient was later connected to the ventilator but died.

“At the time of the illness, no other cause for Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) was identified other than the vaccine,” said Professor Hannelie Meyer.

The age and other personal information of the deceased were not disclosed for confidentiality reasons.

J&J said in a statement that GBS is associated with the co-administration of various vaccines with other drugs and can also be triggered by SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19.

Last July, US officials also added a warning indicating an increased risk of GBS related to the Janssen vaccine.

“The benefit of the vaccine still outweighs the risks”

“The benefit of vaccination still far outweighs the risk. We administered approximately 9 million doses of Janssen vaccine in our context, and this is the first causally linked case of GBS,” Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, CEO of the South African Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), told reporters. said.

Europe’s drug regulator, EMA, also added GBS last year as a possible side effect of the Covid vaccine, which uses viral vector technology like J&J’s.

There were 160 deaths in total, but no causality could be found.

South Africa’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla said at a press conference that there were more than 6,200 “adverse events”, equivalent to 0.017 percent reported to SAHPRA, regarding more than 37 million Covid vaccines administered in the country since mid-July.

Only 160 of these resulted in death. However, no causal link with the vaccine has been found so far in these deaths.

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