South Korea says no link found between deaths and COVID-19 vaccine


South Korea has said on Monday it had found no link between the coronavirus vaccine and several recent deaths, as it ordered nearly 100,000 foreign workers to be tested after clusters emerged in dormitories.

Health officials had been investigating the deaths of eight people with underlying conditions who had adverse reactions after receiving AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, but said they found no evidence that the shots played a role.

“We’ve tentatively concluded that it was difficult to establish any link between their adverse reaction after being vaccinated, and their deaths,” Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) Director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a briefing.

South Korea began vaccinating residents and workers at nursing homes and other at-risk individuals at the end of February, with 316,865 people having received their first shots as of Sunday.

South Koreans aged 65 or older were not being given AstraZeneca’s vaccine after health regulators concluded that more data was needed to confirm its efficacy among that age group.

However, on Monday, Jeong said an expert panel had now recommended that the shot be given to older people, and that the KDCA would soon make a final decision.

Several outbreaks in manufacturing and other industrial workplaces prompted authorities to begin inspecting 12,000 work sites with international workers, while multiple local governments ordered foreign workers to be tested in coming days.

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