South Africa: two deaths after Covid-19 vaccination

South Africa’s drug regulator has reported two fatal cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare neurological condition, in people who received the Covid-19 vaccine from US-based Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
The Health Authority (SAHPRA) had reported a first death on 4 August.
“SAHPRA has been informed of a second fatal case of Guillain-Barré syndrome after vaccination with Janssen’s Covid-19 vaccine,” it said in a statement.
Contacted by AFP, J&J stressed in a written response on Tuesday that “very rare cases of the neurological disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome, have been reported after vaccination with Janssen’s Covid-19 vaccine, most occurring within the first 42 days after vaccination.
“GBS is a very rare but serious adverse event that is associated with the administration of various vaccines and other drugs and can also be triggered by infections such as SARS-CoV-2,” the company added, without referring directly to the South African cases.
SAHPRA did not give further details on the deceased patients, citing “medical confidentiality”.
However, it said in its statement that “the effects reported in the vaccinated person met the case definition of GBS and no other probable cause of GBS has been identified”.
Guillain-Barré syndrome is a peripheral nerve disorder characterized by progressive weakness and paralysis, most often beginning in the legs and sometimes progressing to the respiratory muscles and then to the nerves of the head and neck.
South Africa, officially the African country most affected by the pandemic, has recorded more than four million cases of coronavirus and 102,129 deaths.