On Thursday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said 72 deaths following flu shots in the country were unrelated to the vaccination program and encouraged citizens to continue to be vaccinated.
After reviewing the autopsies of 71 deceased patients, most of whom were in their 70s and 80s, the KDCA concluded that there was no direct link between flu vaccination and deaths. The cause of death in the remaining autopsies is unknown.
In these 71 autopsies, the KDCA found that each person had a serious underlying health condition that led to death.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that among the deaths reviewed by the KDCA, there was no association with anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction that can lead to death after vaccination.
According to a report published by the KDCA, a total of 9.68 million people have been vaccinated so far through the South Korean National Immunization Program. Of these vaccinated, at least 1,551 people have reported adverse side effects.
Despite growing public concern, the agency has stated that it does not plan to suspend its public immunization program and urges citizens to continue to be vaccinated.
“After reviewing the deaths so far, it is not the right time to suspend a flu vaccination program, as vaccination is very important this year, considering … the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Jeong Eun-Kyung, director of KDCA, during a briefing this week.
The KDCA reported that the vaccinations in connection with the deaths came from seven different companies. The surge in deaths prompted the Singapore health authorities to temporarily stop vaccinations from two companies – one from the South Korean company SK Bioscience and the other from the French multinational Sanofi, according to the South China Morning Post.
Although no deaths have been reported in Singapore, health authorities say they are pausing vaccinations as a precautionary measure.
In the United States, the CDC estimates that influenza has caused 45 million cases of illness, between 140,000 and 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.
This season, at least 150 million doses of influenza vaccine have been distributed and, according to the CDC, there have been no safety concerns or deaths associated with vaccinations to date.
“Influenza vaccines have been used safely in the United States for decades, with millions of doses distributed each flu season,” the agency wrote on its website, stating that it would continue to monitor the situation in South Korea closely.
Tekk.tv approached the CDC for additional comment but did not receive a comment in time for publication.
On Monday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged citizens to “please trust the health authorities to review the conclusions and presentations with experts”.
“It is confirmed that there is no direct causal link between death and vaccination as a result of investigations and comprehensive judgments such as an autopsy of previously reported cases”…