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Are South African healthcare workers vaccine guinea pigs?

Updated: Mar 14

The JnJ vaccine rollout to healthcare workers in South Africa is part of the SISONKE trial in order to creatively bypass regulatory approval, which takes time. The phase 3B study is an implementation study without a placebo - meaning that even though it is a ‘trial’, all participants will receive the vaccine.


The ENSEMBLE trial has shown that the JnJ vaccine is safe and effective against the 501Y.V2 variant (the new variant discovered in South Africa). The JnJ vaccine has already been approved by the US FDA and Health Canada.


South African healthcare workers are not being used as guinea pigs.


Kudos to the South African Medical Research Council and the SISONKE trial for swiftly bringing the vaccine to frontline healthcare workers to protect them before an inevitable third wave.


Episode one of Behind the Frontline podcast unpacks this and many other issues related to the COVID19 vaccines further. Look out for it here on Apple podcasts and Spotify🎙


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