Health Authorities in Jitter as Flu Vaccine Death Toll Soars

  • By Jung Seok-woo

    October 23, 2020 09:25

    Eighteen more people were reported dead after their seasonal flu shots on Thursday alone, raising the toll of mysterious deaths to 28 over the past week.

    Two people died after being given flu shots made by the same company the same day.

    Jeong Eun-kyeong, the chief of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, told reporters, "If more than two people die after getting vaccines with the same kind of serial numbers by a certain manufacturer, we will destroy the whole batch with those numbers."

    A medical worker prepares a flu shot at a hospital in Seoul on Wednesday. /Yonhap

    But the KDCA said that at least 70,000 people were injected with the same brand, of which 150,000 doses were supplied.

    The KDCA meets with experts on Friday to discuss how to proceed.

    Jeong Eun-kyeong, the chief of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, adjusts her glasses during a National Assembly audit in Seoul on Thursday. /Newsis

    The Korean Medical Association and other experts urged the government to halt the free flu vaccinations until their safety can be guaranteed and advised 35,000 hospitals around the country to abide by the recommendation.

    There is a high chance of many hospitals halting free flu vaccinations until next week, but Jeong said during a National Assembly audit there is "no need" to do so because around 3,000 people die every year from flu complications and the negative effects of halting the vaccinations would be "far greater."

    Meanwhile, Korea reported 155 new coronavirus cases as of Friday morning, the second triple-digit increase in as many days as small-scale group infections continue mainly in nursing homes.

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