MOH advises halt to use of 2 flu vaccines after deaths in S. Korea

They are among 7 brands used in S. Korea; no deaths from flu shot recorded in S'pore

No deaths associated with influenza vaccination have been recorded here, noted the Ministry of Health and the Health Sciences Authority.
No deaths associated with influenza vaccination have been recorded here, noted the Ministry of Health and the Health Sciences Authority.PHOTO: REUTERS

The local health authorities have advised against the use of two influenza vaccines - SKYCellflu Quadrivalent and VaxigripTetra - after several people died after receiving them in South Korea.

No deaths associated with influenza vaccination have been recorded here, noted the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) yesterday, adding: "This is a precautionary measure following reported deaths after influenza vaccination in South Korea."

The Straits Times reported earlier that 36 deaths were recorded in South Korea as of Friday.

Information from the South Korean authorities noted that seven brands of influenza vaccine had been administered to the people who died in South Korea.

Two of the seven brands are available in Singapore: SKYCellflu Quadrivalent is manufactured by SK Bioscience and distributed here by AJ Biologics; VaxigripTetra is made by Sanofi Pasteur and locally distributed by Sanofi Aventis.

The HSA is assessing the implications of the reported deaths in South Korea and the MOH has told healthcare providers and medical practitioners to temporarily stop using the two vaccines.

But the two other vaccines that have been brought into Singapore for the influenza season can still be used, they added.

Like any medicines, vaccines can cause side effects, such as soreness and redness at the injection site, fever, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and nausea.

"These side effects are generally mild and resolve on their own. In rare instances, a person may experience high fever or severe allergic reactions (such as breathing difficulty, wheezing and swelling around the eyes) and immediate medical attention should be sought," said the agencies. They added that vaccines approved for use here have been evaluated by the HSA to ensure that they meet the required international standards of quality, safety and efficacy.

The HSA monitors vaccine safety through a monitoring system that draws on the network of local healthcare professionals and international regulatory counterparts to pick up adverse events suspected to be associated with the medications.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2020, with the headline 'MOH advises halt to use of 2 flu vaccines after deaths in S. Korea'. Subscribe