China Investigates 2 Deaths After Flu Vaccinations

Two have died after receiving H1N1 vaccinations. One of the deaths appears to be unrelated to the vaccine, but the cause of the other is still awaiting laboratory results. From the Associated Press:

Two people in China who received swine flu vaccinations died in the past week but at least one death appears unrelated to the vaccine and the other was being investigated.

The country’s health ministry reported the deaths late Friday on its Web site — the first time China has announced deaths with potential links to the Chinese-made swine flu vaccine.

An autopsy showed one victim suffered a heart attack and, “experts have basically ruled out the possibility that the patient’s sudden death was the result of immediate allergic reactions to the flu vaccines,” the ministry statement said.

Experts were waiting for more lab results, it added.

Details on some of the side effects, and comments from the World Health Organization, via Shan Juan for China Daily:

So far, 15 people have suffered severe side effects including anaphylactic shocks (sudden drop in blood pressure or difficulty in breathing) after taking the jab, said Liu Dawei, a vaccination expert with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“These people will get free treatment and cash compensation,” Liu said.

[...] No vaccine is risk-free, but the influenza vaccine is among the safest, said Vivian Tan, press officer of the World Health Organization’s Beijing office.

“We have observed minor side effects like sore arm, red rashes, low fever and headache among the people who have taken the jab. Severe side effects are very uncommon. But it’s important to monitor the situation closely,” Tan said.

November 14, 2009 12:22 AM
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