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101 suspected flu shot deaths reported in S. Korea

This undated file photo shows a flu shot being administered. (Yonhap)
This undated file photo shows a flu shot being administered. (Yonhap)
South Korea's health agency said Tuesday that a total of 101 people, most of whom were elderly, died after receiving seasonal flu vaccines.

The deaths had stoked public anxiety over the safety of such vaccines, but the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said 97 of those deaths have very limited relation with the flu shots. Another four cases are under investigation.

Of the total, 84 people were aged over 70, followed by eight under 60 and nine in their 60s, the KDCA said.

The health authorities have repeatedly said they have found no direct link between flu shots and deaths, urging people to get flu vaccinations before the onset of winter amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Public anxiety has heightened over the safety of flu vaccines after some vaccine bottles -- part of the country's free inoculation program -- were exposed to room temperature during distribution. The authorities, however, said there was no safety issue.

So far, more than 12.56 million South Koreans have received free state flu shots, out of about 19 million people, or 64.1 percent, the KDCA said.

Generally, flu season arrives between end-November and December. Considering that flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination, experts recommend people get flu shots by mid-November. (Yonhap)
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