2 flu vaccines previously thought to be linked to 72 deaths in South Korea cleared for use by MOH after review

They are now deemed safe for use.

Andrew Koay | October 31, 2020, 09:58 PM

Two influenza vaccines can once be administered after the Ministry of Health (MOH) ended a temporary cessation of their use.

The ministry had previously advised medical practitioners and healthcare providers to stop using SKYCellflu Quadrivalent and VaxigripTetra on Oct. 25.

It came after 72 individuals in South Korea died following vaccination.

However, following a review of information released by South Korean health authorities by MOH and the Health Sciences Authority's (HSA) further review of the quality and safety profiles of the two vaccines, they have been cleared for use.

No causal link

According to a press release by MOH, information released by the South Korean health authorities on Oct. 29 indicated that the likelihood of a causal link between influenza vaccination and the deaths was low.

South Korea’s investigations revealed that the causes of death for 71 of the 72 deaths reported were highly likely due to underlying diseases, while the remaining case is pending investigations.

Furthermore, no vaccine from any particular manufacturer was associated with higher rates of reported deaths than the others.

HSA found the deaths to be consistent with the known safety profile of influenza vaccine.

They also reviewed the test reports of all batches of the two vaccines in Singapore and determined they had met quality standards.

Vaccines have side effects

Common side effects from influenza vaccination may include soreness and redness at the injection site, fever, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and nausea. These side effects are generally mild and resolve on their own.

However, in rare cases, a vaccine may cause an individual to experience high fever or allergic reactions, such as breathing difficulty, wheezing, and swelling around the eyes.

In these instances, immediate medical attention should be sought.

To date, there are no safety and quality concerns with all influenza vaccines available in Singapore for the Northern Hemisphere 2020-2021 influenza season. This includes the vaccines Fluarix Tetra, Influvac Tetra, SKYCellflu Quadrivalent and VaxigripTetra.

Top image from the National Cancer Institute via Unsplash

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