No evidence shows flu vaccine caused deaths in Italy: European Medicines Agency

December 4, 2014 12:25 pm 

ROME, Dec. 4 — There is no evidence that Fluad, a flu vaccine manufactured by Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis, has caused serious events including deaths in Italy, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

In the past few days, it was reported that several people suspected to have died in Italy for reasons potentially linked to Fluad. The Italian authority for drugs AIFA suspended the use of two lots of the vaccine for precaution. The episode sparked fears among citizens.

After the review of the cases reported, the EMA concluded that there was no evidence for a causal relation between the fatal events and the use of Fluad, which is applied to senior citizens and especially in those who are at a risk of health complications.

EMA reassured that European states can continue with their annual flu vaccination campaigns. In Italy, around four million doses of Fluad have been distributed, and the vaccine has also been used for the flu vaccination campaigns in Austria, Germany and Spain.

"Now it is important to restore confidence in vaccination campaigns to avoid the negative consequences of influenza on individuals at risk and on the elderly," AIFA head Sergio Pecorelli said after the EMA announcement.

The World Health Organization estimates that annual influenza epidemics result in about three to five million cases of severe illness worldwide and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. Flu vaccines are the most effective way to prevent the disease and the serious complications it can cause, according to the EMA. (PNA/Xinhua)

FPV/JSD

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