The country’s government has launched a flu vaccine campaign, which is concerned about the possible spread of coronovirus and influenza.
Since taking the flu vaccination since last Friday, at least 36 people have died, including a 17-year-old man. According to the South Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), the average age of those who died was 74.
According to the KDCA, as of Friday, more than 14 million people had received the flu vaccine, including 9.4 million children, elderly and pregnant women.
Key Moran, a professor at the National Cancer Center in South Korea, said the flu vaccine is known to cause serious side effects in one in a million people.
In 2019, 227,000 people over the age of 65 died in South Korea. To put recent figures in perspective, this is an average of 621 deaths a day.
The KDCA on Friday decided not to postpone the flu vaccination. According to the KDCA statement, the Immunization Expert Committee will hold a meeting on Saturday morning to review additional data.
Rare side effects
The KDCA’s Friday meeting came after increased scrutiny from experts and politicians.
According to a health ministry press release, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Si-kyu on Friday called for a deeper investigation into the deaths, citing public concern. He did not call for stopping the vaccination campaign.
The Korean Medical Association, which has a tie-up of 130,000 doctors, has urged the government to postpone the vaccination program for a week until they have determined the cause of the deaths.
In a statement, the Korean Vaccine Society emphasized the importance of the flu vaccine, particularly “for children, the elderly and patients with chronic diseases and low immune systems.” The organization cited concerns about the possible spread of the flu during the Kovid-19 epidemic.
Globally, experts are preparing for the flu season amid the epidemic. Director of America’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Drs. “This is an important year for us to try to get as much flu from the table,” Robert Redfield said in an interview with the AMA’s JAMA Network.
One reason is to reduce stress on public health services and hospitals, which are pushing for a winter wave. Experts say it is possible to get Kovid-19 and flu together – and, because flu symptoms look similar to Kovid-19, it would be impossible to dismiss a coronavirus diagnosis without testing. This means that a single case of flu can cause considerable disruption in work and school.