Flu Vaccine 'Played No Part' in Death of 18-Year-Old

  • By Heo Sang-woo

    October 23, 2020 12:01


    The tentative results of an autopsy of an 18-year-old student who died in Incheon last weekend suggest that the cause of death was not the free flu vaccine he had been given.

    A government health official who witnessed the autopsy told the Chosun Ilbo on Thursday, "A prime cause of death was confirmed during the autopsy that is not related to the vaccine. If the vaccine had been the cause, we should have seen signs of anaphylaxis or viral infection, blood poisoning or immune system ailments, but no such signs were detected." 

    Anaphylactic shock is an allergic reaction after exposure to a particular drug or food that causes the immune system to release a flood of chemicals. It usually occurs within 15 to 30 minutes, but the student died a day after the injection.

    The official said the exact cause of death is unknown until the final results of the autopsy are out. The National Forensic Service also believes that the death of the student was not directly related to the flu vaccine, but a final diagnosis is expected early next week.

    The high school student was found dead in his room on Oct. 16, two days after he received a flu vaccine. When police and emergency services arrived at his home, rigor mortis had already set in. The student had no history of illness other than allergic rhinitis, and the vaccine he received had been stored at proper temperatures and did not contain suspicious white particles like some batches of vaccines.

    There have been 28 deaths reported so far since the first death, triggering fears nationwide as a record number of people are getting free flu vaccines this winter in the midst of the coronvirus crisis to avoid a "twindemic."

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