At least five people, including a teenager and a 70-years-old, have passed away shortly after they received the yearly influenza shot under the government’s efforts to battle the pandemic.
On Friday, a 17-years-old boy from the western port city of Incheon died after he was inoculated with the flu vaccine on Wednesday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). But the cause of death from the vaccine is not confirmed.
In a similar instance, a 70-years-old man with Parkinson’s disease and arrhythmia, became the latest victim to die today, after he received the government mandated flu shot on Tuesday.
These two are among the other three instances where people have died shortly after receiving the flu shot, which the South Korean government is aggressively administering to prevent overlapping of a flu epidemic with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In both cases, however, no direct connection of the death was immediately made with the vaccines, and yet fears gripped the nation over the safety of the jab since the fatalities followed shortly after the inoculation.
Earlier this month, the free flu shot program was temporarily suspended after a shipment of 5 million doses were found stored at room temperature, whereas they were supposed to be stored in refrigerated conditions.
S.Korean healthcare authorities deny any relations of the deaths with the vaccines. Some of who have died after receiving this shot has successfully adjusted with the same shot earlier in their lives, they argued.
They have confirmed the mishandled vaccine was tested for safety and efficacy and the lot passed the same.
“It is necessary to first determine the cause of his death as no specific side effects were reported after receiving the shot and he passed away after a certain period of time,” KCDA Director Jeong Eun-Kyong said during a briefing.
Among the 8.5 million people jabbed with the seasonal flu shots by October 13th when the shot program was resumed, only a few hundred cases of adverse side effects surfaced up, Reuters news agency reported.
Earlier this month, Seoul’s drug safety watchdog ordered Korea Vaccines to recall 615,000 doses of flu shots after particles were found in them, Yonhap news agency reported. But the safety of the vaccines was not compromised.
Ki Mo-ran, an epidemiology professor at the National Cancer Center said no vaccine is 100% safe and it is a fact that flu vaccines like the ones inoculated have been around for 70-years.
The government has assured they’re probing into the deaths saying both the recent victims has co-morbid conditions.
The South Korean government is already battling the spread of the novel coronavirus. On Wednesday new confirmed cases kept on double-digit numbers for the sixth day straight.
Of the 91 cases confirmed on Wednesday, 57 were domestic, and the rest sporadic, untraceable cluster infections, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
The Wednesday rise is a sharp uptick of new cases recorded on Monday (76) and Tuesday (58) cases.