S. Korea to continue flu vaccination program despite suspected deaths

S. Korea to continue flu vaccination program despite suspected deaths

South Korea's health authorities reaffirmed on Thursday that the state-initiated seasonal flu shot programme will continue despite more suspected deaths, citing no direct link between flu shots and deaths.

Authorities said there was no reason to believe the deaths were linked to the vaccine but an investigation, including post mortems, was underway.

At least 36 people have died after taking flu vaccinations since last Friday, including a 17-year-old. No toxic substances were found in the vaccines, and at least five of the six people investigated had underlying conditions, officials said. A Boryung official told Reuters the company was aware of the reported deaths, but had no immediate comment.

The rising death toll has fuelled debate about whether the programme, which is free for some citizens, should be suspended.

As the winter approaches, the South Korean government is attempting to inoculate 30 million people to help ease the pressure on the country's health system caused by a potential second wave of the Chinese coronavirus. The South Korean Institute for Disease Control and Prevention (KDCA) says the average age of the dead is 74. Among the seven brands administered to people who died in South Korea, these two are the only ones also available in Singapore.

'I understand and regret that people are concerned about the vaccine, ' said Health minister Park Neung-hoo as he announced that the programme would go ahead.

The country's free vaccine programme uses doses manufactured by local drug makers GC Pharma, SK Bioscience and Ilyang Pharmaceutical Co, along with France's Sanofi and Britain's Glaxosmithkline. In this webinar, learn the benefits of utilizing demand-led supply and direct-to-patient distribution models in the clinical supply chain, as well as how they can be used to both improve flexibility and better align with patient needs. The authorities, however, said there was no safety issue.

Officials said 8.3 million people have been inoculated with the free flu vaccine since it resumed on October 13, with around 350 cases of adverse reactions reported.

Officials said 8.3 million people had been inoculated since the program resumed last week - with only about 350 adverse reactions reported.

South Korea reported 77 new coronavirus cases as of Friday midnight, bringing total infections to 25,775, with 457 deaths. "After reviewing death cases so far, it is not the time to suspend a flu vaccination program since vaccination is very crucial this year, considering ... the COVID-19 outbreak", Jeong Eun-Kyung, director of the Korea Disease Control Agency, said during a briefing.

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