The death of several dozen people who had previously received two marks of flu vaccine it has set off alarms in some countries in Asia. And it has done it at the worst moment, with winter approaching and in a health crisis in which experts recommend doing everything possible to prevent the flu epidemic runs rampant and complicate the operation of the health system, busy trying to prevent collapse from COVID-19. So far, the investigation found no relationship between deaths and inoculations.
Where did the crisis start?
Alerts jumped at first in South Korea, where at the end of September they began to register elderly deaths that in previous days they had received the flu vaccine.
This fall, the country had launched a free program to immunize 19 million people with the anti-flu dose, following international recommendations to try to stop the flu epidemic as far as possible so that does not coincide with the coronavirus pandemic.
But South Korea began its campaign with a big misstep, because a significant batch of vaccines was improperly handled, leaving the doses at room temperature. By mistake, those vaccines were later given to more than 1,300 people.
They were registered at least three elderly deaths, which the authorities attributed not to the vaccine but to the fact that they were already in a delicate state of health. These events caused the vaccination campaign to be temporarily suspended, but it was restarted on October 8.
However, in the first weeks of this month, deaths of people who supposedly had been vaccinated against the flu in the previous days continued. One of them, which attracted the attention of authorities and the media, was a 17 year old boy.
What are the vaccines?
Although several brands of flu vaccines are commonly used in the world, only two have been linked to the controversy: SKYCellflu Quadrivalent, manufactured by the South Korean laboratory SK Bioscience, and Vaxigrip Tetra, from the French laboratories Sanofi.
Who have been the victims?
So far they have been registered in South Korea at least 59 deaths of people who have supposedly received the flu vaccine before. Apart from the 17-year-old boy, the rest of the victims have been ages over 60 years, with previous pathologies and a delicate state of health.
What have the authorities concluded?
After the controversy arose, the South Korean health authorities launched an investigation, which has not found so far no relationship between vaccine and deaths. Even the country’s medical society recommended the suspension of the flu campaign while the facts were clarified, although the Government decided to go ahead with it.
Own president of the country, Moon Jae-in, has stressed that it has been a coincidence that these people died after being inoculated, and made a call to continue with the campaign, as many citizens have begun to refuse to receive the vaccine.
So far they have been made autopsies of 46 of the victims, in which no evidence has been found that could link death to the vaccine. Last Monday, the South Korean president also said that “it is confirmed that the deaths are not directly related to flu vaccines. “
How have other countries reacted?
The controversy has also reached other Asian countries. In Taiwan Four deaths allegedly linked to the vaccine were reported, but the Center for Disease Control in Taipei concluded, after an investigation, that those deaths they were not related to drugs.
In accordance with Taipei Times, the dead had ages 62 to 77 and with previous pathologies. All four died for heart complications; three of them had received the Sanofi vaccine in the previous days, and the fourth another from the company Adimmune Corp. Another 72 people had presented discomfort, 9 of them with serious symptoms.
In this case, also the local authorities they called to avoid panic and they did not suspend vaccination programs.
Where the application of the SKYCellflu Quadrivalent and Vaxigrip Tetra vaccines has been suspended this week has been in Singapore, which has announced an investigation following the events in South Korea.
Malaysia It also announced this Wednesday that it has suspended the application of those two vaccines while confirming their safety.
Does Spain use those vaccines?
In Spain has been distributed for several campaigns the vaccine Vaxigrip Tetra, from Sanofi, as well as in several European countries.
Sanofi sources have confirmed to 20minutos that your vaccine is being distributed and applied in several autonomous communities and that no problem has occurred.
The same sources point out that all studies and research have shown that Vaxigrip Tetra is safe and it has all the guarantees and permits of the Spanish health authorities.