October 07, 2020 13:11
Health authorities on Tuesday said an internal probe has revealed that flu vaccines that were stored at room temperature for an extended period of time are safe.
But around 480,000 doses that could have been rendered less effective by exposure to room temperature will be retrieved and discarded.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency discovered on Sept. 21 that a portion of 5.78 million doses of flu vaccines distributed by Shinsung Pharm had been exposed to room temperature during delivery and halted this year's free flu vaccination drive.
The agency initially said that nobody had been injected with the mishandled vaccines but later admitted that nearly 3,000 people had been given them.
The agency now hopes to resume the free jabs on Oct. 12 once all the compromised doses have been retrieved. But public distrust of the agency is expected to linger for some time.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, the head of the agency, apologized to the public for causing concerns and said any shortfall in vaccines caused by the mishandling will be supplemented by around 340,000 reserve doses.
The glitch is bad news for Jeong, whose agency was only recently upgraded and given more powers because she was thought to have handled the coronavirus epidemic well.
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