Sisonke vaccine programme results looking positive, says Professor Goga
Cape Town - As the Sisonke implementation study passes the halfway mark in administering the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to health-care workers, co-principal investigator of the study, Professor Ameena Goga, says positive results can be expected.
Close to 280 000 health-care workers have received the vaccine and Goga says they expect to reach the 500 000 mark and conclude the study by the end of April.
“It’s really looking very positive. I think the phase 3 trial set the standard and guided us as to what we should expect, and certainly so far it does seem similar.
“We are expecting positive results and we will keep monitoring the data,” she said.
Earlier this year, Johnson& Johnson announced results from the phase 3 Ensemble clinical trial showed the coronavirus vaccine was 85% effective in preventing severe disease and demonstrated complete protection against Covid-19-related hospitalisation and deaths.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority last week approved the registration of the single-dose vaccine for those younger than 18.
There have been 17 breakthrough Covid-19 infections recorded in the study so far, however Goga said it is a very small percentage of those who have received the shot and should not be cause for concern.
A breakthrough infection is when a person who has received the Covid-19 vaccine contracts the virus around two weeks after their shot.
“The vaccine won’t prevent you 100% from getting Covid-19. If you look at the data, it protects you from moderate-severe disease about 60% and it will protect you fully against death, but you will still have a few people who have breakthrough infections,” she said.
Goga said the reason why preliminary data has not been released to the public yet is because the data has to go through scientific processes and be reviewed.
“We can only report on the data once we’ve cleaned it, once we’ve presented it to a scientific review committee, and once we’ve presented it to a data board. It would be irresponsible of us to report any findings to the public if it hasn't gone through a rigorous review process.”