A study being conducted by South Africa’s Ministry of Health found that a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine could potentially prevent severe illness and death from the highly transmissible Delta and Beta variants.
The trial called Sisonke evaluated a pool of nearly 500,000 health care workers who had received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Studies found that the vaccine had a 95 percent efficacy rate against the Delta Variant “and up to 71 percent against hospitalization” the New York Times notes. However, the findings revealed that the vaccine wasn’t able to fare against the Beta strain which is becoming increasingly harder to fight off from infection–even amongst the vaccinated.
According to a report from CNBC, the variant contains “several significant mutations to the virus’ spike protein —E484K, K417N, and N501Y — that make it easier for this variant to infect people, as well as potentially making it harder to treat, or to prevent with Covid vaccines.”
The WHO announced back in July that while the vaccines offer protection against “severe disease” there is “possible reduced protection against symptomatic disease and infection.”
The good news is that the study suggests people who have already received their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine won’t be required to take a potential booster shot. The New York Times adds that 96 percent of vaccinated volunteers who were infected with the virus showed lower rates of severe illness and death in less than 0.05 percent of participants.
However, questions still loom about the safety of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. In May, 28 women were diagnosed with a rare blood clotting condition after having taken a single dose. The victims were said to have developed cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST, in combination with low blood platelets within about two weeks of receiving the shot, CNBC reported.