One confirmed death directly linked to the Covid-19 vaccine

One person has died after receiving the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has confirmed.

At a press briefing earlier today, Deputy Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said 37.2 million doses of Johnson&Johnson and Pfizer vaccines had been administered.

I have confirmed that as of July 15, 2022, just over 6,200 adverse events have been reported to SAHPRA, or 0.017% of those administered.

Dr Phaahla said these cases have been analyzed and comments provided.

However, it was the administration of the Janssen vaccine – which was approved for administration in March 2021, and then the booster later approved in December 2021 – that resulted in one death with a cause directly related to receiving the vaccine.

SAHPRA CEO Dr Tumi Semete announced the death and confirmed it was directly related to the Janssen vaccine. She said the patient had developed what is called Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its nerves.

It mainly affects the feet, hands and limbs, causing problems such as numbness, weakness and pain. Guillain-Barré syndrome affects people of all ages, but it is more common in adults and men.

The panel, however, declined to provide information about the deceased, citing an obligation to protect patient privacy and confidentiality.

“While 9 million doses of the Janssen vaccine were administered, only one death was reported. The patient developed symptoms shortly after receiving the vaccine. This resulted in prolonged hospitalization and mechanical ventilation,” a- she declared.

She stressed that it should be noted that the development of the syndrome was a very rare event and that the vaccine was still safe.

The health professionals on the panel, including the Deputy Minister, pointed out that the risk of getting vaccinated was significantly lower than the risk of experiencing the adverse effects of vaccination.

Dr Helen Rees, one of the panelists, said vaccination was always encouraged as it prevented severity and hospitalization from Covid-19.