Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine linked to death in South Africa, health regulator reports

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South Africa’s health regulator has reported a causal link between the death of an individual and Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine.

This is the first time such a direct link has been made in the country.

According to the report, the person presented with rare neurological disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome soon after being given J&J’s Janssen vaccine, after which the person was put on a ventilator and later died.

J&J said in an emailed statement that GBS was associated with the administration of various vaccines and other medicines and can also be triggered by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The company said it strongly supported raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of rare events to ensure they can be quickly identified and effectively treated.

Last July, U.S. authorities added a warning to a factsheet for J&J’s vaccine saying data suggested there was an increased risk of GBS in the six weeks after vaccination. At the time it noted 100 preliminary reports of GBS in vaccine recipients, including 95 serious cases and one reported death.

J&J said at the time of the U.S. warning it was in discussions with regulators and the rate of reported cases of GBS in Janssen vaccine recipients exceeded the background rate only slightly.




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