Autumn and winter are the seasons for the high incidence of influenza. Taking into account the new crown pneumonia epidemic this year, many medical experts urge people to get influenza vaccination before the arrival of the flu season to avoid a “double epidemic” of new crown and influenza.
However, South Korea’s flu vaccine is experiencing a storm. According to Yonhap News Agency, the high flu season in Korea is usually from the end of November to December each year. Since the vaccine usually takes effect in about 2 weeks, Korean medical experts recommend that people complete the vaccination before mid-November.
However, according to a report by the Korean Disease Management Agency on the 24th, as of 13:00 local time on the 24th, the number of deaths after the flu vaccine in South Korea has risen to 48, 12 more cases than the previous day.
South Korean government: death does not mean caused by vaccination
According to Yonhap News Agency, the Vaccination Committee of the Department of Disease Management, after analyzing the cause of death of the dead cases, concluded that the direct causal link between the cause of death and influenza vaccination is low, and in the context of the new coronary pneumonia epidemic, it will not be called Stop influenza vaccination and continue to vaccinate according to the schedule.
The Korean Disease Management Agency emphasized on the 23rd that the notification only lists the death toll after vaccination, and does not mean that the death was caused by vaccination. The agency said that it has conducted a “thorough” epidemiological investigation of deaths after vaccination and used methods such as autopsy.
The Yonhap News Agency quoted police sources earlier on the 23rd and reported that after a forensic doctor conducted an autopsy, it was determined that the cause of death of the first 17-year-old boy who died after receiving a free flu vaccine had nothing to do with the vaccination. The teenager was vaccinated on the 16th of this month and died 2 days later. Since his death, there have been many deaths after receiving free flu vaccines in South Korea. The South Korean health department previously stated that there is insufficient evidence to show that deaths are directly related to free influenza vaccination. Most of the deaths are elderly and most of them have underlying diseases.
South Korea has a population of approximately 52 million, and the government plans to vaccinate 19 million people with free flu vaccines, including teenagers and the elderly. These vaccines are supplied by five pharmaceutical companies, namely the local GC Pharmaceutical Company, SK Biotechnology, Yiyang Pharmaceutical Company, France’s Sanofi Group, and British GlaxoSmithKline. Distributors include South Korea’s LG Chemical Company and Boryeong Pharmaceutical Company.
Death cases continue to rise, South Korea encounters a vaccine crisis?
According to the information currently available, of the 48 dead, 43 are 60 years old and above, and 5 are under 60.
This incident has aroused great public opinion in South Korea. Some Korean people expressed their concerns about the safety of the vaccine, and many people are still on the sidelines of influenza vaccination due to this incident.
What caused these people to die after getting the flu vaccine? The South Korean health department conducted an investigation. At a press conference on the 24th, the South Korean health department stated that there is no clear evidence that these deaths were caused by vaccination, that is to say , there is no clear evidence that the vaccine is caused at this stage. death.
It was confirmed after autopsy of 20 deceased that 13 of them died of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. In view of this, South Korean health authorities and epidemiological experts suggest that it is not yet certain that the deaths are caused by influenza vaccine, so it seems unnecessary to stop the ongoing influenza vaccination work at this stage.
South Korea’s Director of Disease Management, Jeong Eun-kyung, said that influenza causes more than 3,000 deaths in South Korea every year, and influenza vaccination is still a very necessary preventive method. Especially this year’s flu season has caught up with the global epidemic of the new coronavirus. The spread of the two viruses may aggravate the fear of the population. In addition, the two viruses may have similar symptoms. Therefore, once people have similar symptoms, they will not be able to distinguish infections. Whether it is influenza virus or new crown virus, it may cause panic, or after the appearance of similar symptoms, blindly testing for new crown virus because of uneasy symptoms causes a waste of medical resources.
Therefore, under such considerations, South Korean officials stated that it is necessary to continue the current vaccination work. However, there are also many concerns in Korean society. Some time ago, there were also incidents of exposure to room temperature during the vaccine transportation process, which led to adverse reactions among the vaccinators. Coupled with the continuous increase in deaths, some people questioned that no direct relationship between the vaccine and death was found. On behalf of the vaccine, there must be no problem, so we still need to proceed with caution.
To this end, the South Korean health department also responded that since most of the deaths are of advanced age, the previous medical history should be considered during vaccination and the vaccinated should be closely observed after vaccination to detect problems in time.