Could the adverse outcomes of “seasonal influenza” vaccination in South Korea have an effect on the COVID-19 pandemic?

Document Type : Letter to the Editor


1 Department of Science, School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong, Ho Man Tin, Kowloon, Hong Kong

2 School of Graduate Studies, Lingnan University, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong

3 Key Laboratory of Molecular Target and Clinical Pharmacology, State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Fifth Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 511436, China


COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that difficult to differentiate from influenza symptoms. The COVID-19 pandemic has not yet finished and “seasonal influenza” will be coming from December to February. Several countries such as South Korea and Singapore were prepared for the “Flu” vaccination to minimize common influenza disease. Consequently, the COVID-19 pandemic already become a “double attack” if most people are not taken a “Flu” vaccine in the winter of this year, “seasonal influenza” will be killed at least 3,000 South Koreans. It's the same situation in other countries. People have a high risk of getting “Flu” as well as developing the COVID-19 complications, so it should be vaccinated with the seasonal influenza vaccine for prevention.
Nonetheless, there is another issue that occurred in South Korea. According to the South Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported, it has at least 59 people died after injection of the “Flu” vaccine. Why did this happen? Did any safety issues appear in the vaccine? The “Flu” vaccine has been proven to be safe with rare side effects such as people may get Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) causing muscle weakness and paralysis which is around one in a million chance. It is very rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Thus, people died after getting “Flu” vaccine shots, they are 60 years old or above with pre-existing health problems and chronic diseases including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, and diabetes. (To be continued)...


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