Monday, October 23, 2006

Four People Die After Receiving Flu Vaccinations

Four people have died after receiving flu vaccinations, it was announced Sunday. The Leumi health maintenance organization informed the Health Ministry of three victims among its subscribers, and the Meuhedet HMO announced that one of its subscribers had also died. In response, the Health Ministry has instructed health facilities to immediately stop providing the vaccinations. Army Radio reported that the first three victims were all vaccinated last week at the same branch in Kiryat Gat. The injections were all performed from the same vaccine pool. Three of the victims, ages 75, 70 and 52, had been vaccinated in previous years against the flu, and none showed abnormal reactions.An initial investigation conducted by the Health Ministry discovered that all four had suffered from various illnesses, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems. The first three people died of cardiac arrest - one of them a day after receiving the vaccination, another three days after and the last six days after. The fourth victim, a 67-year-old male from Petah Tikva, died several hours after receiving the immunization. Ashkelon District physicians are investigating the deaths. The Health Ministry has contacted the manufacturer of the vaccine, Aventis Pasteur of France, whose products are sold worldwide, and requested that it perform extensive examinations of its laboratories. It is still unclear whether there is a connection between the vaccinations and the fatalities, or the nature of such a connection if it exists. It is also unclear whether there were complications in the administration of the vaccine, whether related to the method of injection or the vaccine itself.