Daily Express UK Sunday December 30, 2012
A RECORD number of people died last year after suffering possible side-effects of the flu jab, health service figures reveal.
In 2011 there were 10 deaths linked to the vaccine, compared with 18 from 2008 to 2010.
In total 458 cases were reported last year where the patient had a suspected adverse drug reaction to the flu jab, up fourfold on 108 cases in 2009. These include asthma attacks and chest infections.
Health officials stress the deaths and side-effects are “suspected”.
Regulations now demand any case where a jab could have had an adverse effect has to be reported.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said the increase may be because more people are logging their concerns rather than an actual rise in adverse reactions.
A spokesman for the MHPRA said: “A causal association with the influenza vaccines has not been established for any of these cases.
“The vaccine is largely given to those at high background risk of morbidity regardless of vaccination and coincidental medical events are to be expected.”
The Department of Health said serious side-effects of the flu vaccine are rare but warns people may have a slight temperature and aching muscles for days after the jab.
The department said: “Vaccination remains the best way to protect against a number of life-threatening diseases, including flu.
“Last winter more than 10 million doses of flu vaccine were given out across the NHS in England.
“There were just 0.004 per cent reports of side-effects. Most side-effects from the flu vaccine are not serious.”
Jackie Fletcher, of support group JABS, said: “The figures released by the MHPRA on the number of suspected side-effects following flu vaccination is worrying, particularly as it is accepted by the Department of Health that doctors report less than 10 per cent of suspected vaccine adverse reactions.”
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