Vaccine tied to South Korea deaths not found in PH, assures DOH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 30 2020 01:35 PM

Arriving OFWs at the NAIA Terminal 1 undergo health protocols and fill out documents while being assisted by Philippine Coast Guard personnel before getting clearance from the Philippine Red Cross to get swab tests on October 28, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health on Friday said Filipinos should continue getting flu shots and should not worry about reports of halted use of vaccines in other countries.

“As of this time there is no reported AEFI (adverse events following immunization) with flu vaccine in this country,” said Dr. Beverly Ho, director of the DOH’s Health Promotion and Communication Service, during a virtual briefing.

“The FDA has also checked the lots and batches that are being investigated in Korea and Singapore and none are found here,” she added, explaining that the Philippines “undertake regular surveillance of flu vaccines.”

The DOH said this after international media reported Singapore halted the use of two influenza vaccines that are linked to deaths in South Korea. According to a Reuters report, at least 48 have died in South Korea on Saturday after getting the flu shots, but the country will push through with its vaccination program, explaining that there is no link between the deaths and the vaccine.

Singapore said the halt on SKYCellflu Quadrivalent and VaxigripTetra vaccines was precautionary.

There is an increased interest in flu and pneumonia vaccines in many countries because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo said the demand for vaccines increased “to protect everybody from seasonal flu and pneumonia,” which have similar symptoms to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Ho said the Philippines will continue its national immunization program while monitoring the situation overseas.

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