FDA allays fears about flu vaccine imports after deaths reported in South Korea
Following recent reports that 59 South Koreans had died after being injected with influenza vaccines, the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that the vaccine in question had never been imported for use in Thailand.
FDA deputy secretary-general Dr Surachoke Tangwiwat urged people not to panic and suggested that they receive the vaccine once a year to ensure effective prevention of the flu pandemic.
According to Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, 59 post-vaccination deaths have been reported in South Korea, mostly involving those in their 60s or older with pre-existing health conditions. Alarmist news headlines since the first death was reported on October 16 have deterred many South Koreans from getting vaccinated.
“Vaccines that we import from South Korea are of a different kind from the one in the news. The FDA and Department of Medical Sciences perform extensive tests before allowing imported drugs to be used domestically,” he said. “The FDA will monitor the situation closely and will immediately recall any vaccines from the market if there are signs that they can be dangerous to users.”
Surachoke added that the deaths in South Korea could be a result of chronic diseases of the patients, as the deceased had received vaccines from different manufacturers. “Moreover, the death rate in this case is still low, while the local government has urged South Koreans to trust health authorities, calling for widespread vaccinations to avoid a twin pandemic of flu and Covid-19,” he added.
“People should not panic and still get vaccinated against influenza once a year,” added Surachoke. “Please trust in FDA’s quality control and health surveillance capability. If something goes wrong, we will alert the public immediately.”