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S. Korea to vaccinate 40 pct of population against new flu

All Headlines 11:03 December 02, 2009

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's health authorities said Wednesday they will push to vaccinate nearly 40 percent of the country's population against the H1N1 influenza virus as part of a national effort to protect people from the contagious disease.

The vaccination will be carried out on a total of 19.5 million people by the end of February, the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs said. The figure is around 2 million more than its initial inoculation target.

The move comes as demand is growing for vaccination shots amid lingering fears of the influenza which has killed more than 100 people in the country since mid-August. The vaccinations started in late October with those considered at high-risk, such as medical personnel and school children, given priority.

Such a massive vaccination program is raising concerns that it could cause side effects, a concern that the health authorities sees as "not that serious."

Earlier, an elementary school student was reported to have died due to a cerebral hemorrhage just three days after getting vaccinations shots. The health ministry claims that it is very unlikely that the flu shot caused her death, saying no report has been filed proving that the cerebral hemorrhage was caused by the vaccine.

So far, three people have died after getting the flu shots.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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