MOH advises to temporarily stop use of 2 flu vaccines after 48 deaths reported in South Korea

No deaths associated with influenza vaccination have been reported in Singapore to date.

Julia Yeo | October 25, 2020, 10:22 PM

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised the public to temporarily cease the use of two influenza vaccines as a precautionary measure after deaths were reported in South Korea following vaccinations.

MOH advises to temporarily cease use of 2 flu vaccines

Based on information released by the South Korean health authorities, seven brands of influenza vaccines were administered to the individuals involved in the deaths reported in South Korea.

Of the seven brands, two are available in Singapore. They are:

  1. SKYCellflu Quadrivalent, manufactured by SK Bioscience and locally distributed by AJ Biologics
  2. VaxigripTetra, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur and locally distributed by Sanofi Aventis.

South Korean health authorities said they have found no direct link between the deaths and the flu vaccines.

As of Oct. 24, 48 in South Korea have died since receiving the vaccinations, reported Reuters.

"This is a precautionary measure following reported deaths after influenza vaccination in South Korea," MOH's press release on Oct. 25 said.

MOH has informed healthcare providers and medical practitioners to temporarily stop the use of these two vaccines.

Healthcare providers and medical practitioners may continue to use the two other influenza vaccines that have been brought into Singapore for the Northern Hemisphere 2020/21 influenza season.

Influenza vaccine generally safe and well-tolerated

According to MOH's statement, influenza vaccination is generally safe and well-tolerated. While vaccines can cause side effects like any medicines, they are generally mild and resolve on their own.

Common side effects from influenza vaccination may include soreness and redness at the injection site, fever, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and nausea.

In rare instances, a person may experience high fever or severe allergic reactions (such as breathing difficulty, wheezing, and swelling around the eyes) and immediate medical attention should be sought.

MOH and HSA are assessing the situation as more information becomes available before they further advise on the use of the affected vaccines.

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