South African President Cyril Ramaphosa receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in February. File Photo by Gianluigi Guercia/EPA-EFE
Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine are less likely to be hospitalized or have severe reactions after coming into contact with the Delta variant of the virus, according to a new study.
Based on a trial involving about 480,000 health workers in South Africa, the study provides the first large-scale evidence that Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine is effective against the newly dominant strain of the virus, Time reported.
Glenda Gray, a co-lead researcher of the study, said at a presentation Friday the shot was 71% effective against hospitalization and up to 96% effective in preventing death from the virus. The study, known as Sisonke, shows that the vaccine is more effective against Delta than earlier strains.
The inoculation's durability lasts for eight months, and the study shows that boosters shots are not currently needed, said Gray, president of the South African Medical Research Council.
Johnson & Johnson's jab has been central to South Africa's vaccination plan, and the drugmaker agreed to deliver 400 million doses to the African Union through 2022.
But in April, the rollout was delayed after U.S. regulators recommended a pause in response to reports it caused blood clotting. In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed a new warning on the vaccine for increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder in which the immune system damages the nerve cells.
The South African study came the same day the European Union's drug safety regulators recommended the Johnson & Johnson vaccine carry a warning of increased risk of immune thrombocytopenia. The condition is marked by the immune system attacking and destroying platelets that are needed for blood clotting.
The EU's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee based its recommendation on scientific literature and side effects reported to the drug maker, as well as European and U.S. health monitors. The committee also linked dizziness and tinnitus to the vaccine.