The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) said it continues to investigate severe reactions to Covid-19 vaccines, as reported by the public, following a second death after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.
Sahpra confirmed a second fatal case of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare but potentially severe neurological adverse event linked to various vaccines and other medicines. It can also be triggered by some bacterial or viral infections, including SARS-CoV-2.
Mild to severe symptoms of GBS include muscle weakness, muscle pain, numbness and tingling. The Sahpra assured that in many cases, GBS resolves with no serious after-effects, however, it cautioned that in some cases GBS can cause serious or life-threatening problems.
Sahpra will share the outcomes of investigations and causality assessments with the public as soon as they are completed and has urged the public to continue its uptake of Covid-19 vaccines.
“Covid-19 vaccines have consistently been shown to prevent severe forms of disease, hospitalisation and death. Based on the currently available evidence, Sahpra has determined that the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination far outweigh the very low risk of severe adverse events, including GBS. The public are strongly advised not to delay Covid-19 vaccination if eligible in terms of the national vaccination programme,” the Sahpra said.
The health authority further encourages the public to report any suspected adverse reactions to vaccines and medicines through the Med Safety App or through the Covid-19 hotline, 0800 029 999.