South Korea probing two deaths after AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine

South Korea began vaccinating its population last week. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korean authorities said on Wednesday (March 3) they are investigating the deaths of two people after a media report said the pair - both with pre-existing conditions - died within days of receiving AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine.

A 63-year-old nursing home patient with cerebrovascular disease, developed symptoms including high fever, after being given the vaccine four days ago, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) Director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a briefing.

The person was moved to a larger hospital on Tuesday, but died after showing symptoms of blood poisoning and pneumonia, Yonhap said.

Another person in their 50s with a cardiac disorder and diabetes died on Wednesday after suffering multiple heart attacks, having received the same vaccine a day earlier, the agency said.

An official with the KDCA told Reuters it was investigating the cause of the deaths, but did not elaborate or confirm the details of Yonhap's report.

The agency earlier said it will provide compensation of over 430 million won (S$510,216) for deaths from the Covid-19 vaccine.

"KDCA is conducting epidemiological surveys with relevant local authorities... to confirm any link with inoculation," said Dr Jeong.

An AstraZeneca spokesman in Seoul said the company had no comment at present.

Dr Jeong noted that there were no cases of fatalities from receiving Covid-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech. However, she did urge people to take the shot when they are feeling in good health.

The KDCA said that out of the people who had received the coronavirus vaccines, 207 had adverse reactions, including three cases of severe allergic reactions, known as anaphylaxis.

South Korea began vaccinating its population last week. By Tuesday, 85,904 people had received first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 1,524 had been given Pfizer shots, KDCA said in a statement.

South Korea reported 444 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, up from 344 on Monday, raising the country's tally to 90,816 infections, with 1,612 deaths.

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