The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has said there is no evidence of the COVID-19 vaccines being linked to any deaths.
The health regulator appeared before Parliamentâ€™s Portfolio Committee on Health on Wednesday, 1 September 2021.
â€œWhat we mean is that the deaths are not related to being vaccinated, in 98% of those cases they were elderly people that received vaccinations early on. Again, we did detailed assessments, age, comorbidities and any medication that they are on,â€ said SAHPRA CEO Tumi Semete.
According to SAHPRA, 32 deaths were looked into â€“ 30 of them were found to be coincidental, while there isnâ€™t enough information on the remaining two fatalities.
SAHPRA on vaccine efficacy
Meanwhile SAHPRAâ€™s Professor Helen Rees says the effectiveness and efficacy of vaccines can drop as new variants of COVID-19 are discovered.
â€œAnd similarly, none of the Covid-19 vaccines are 100% effective. The different vaccines we are looking at will have a different level of efficacy and importantly for the vaccines that are at the most advanced stage with all of the early clinical trials, all of these vaccines showed that they prevent severe disease, hospitalisation and death,â€ Rees said.
â€œSo, the effectiveness of all the vaccines had stopped somewhat but it has not gone away. The bar that we have set for ourselves, which is the international standard, is to say 50% effectiveness is the minimum that we would expect.â€
SAHPRAâ€™s Professor Helen Rees
Rees added that many vaccines are partially effective and act by reducing the severity of disease or preventing symptoms developing even if you have a low-grade infection.
â€œBut 100% vaccines are a rare thing indeed,â€ she stressed.