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By Kim Han-joo
SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has tentatively concluded that there is no causal relation between COVID-19 vaccines and eight out of 11 reported deaths after vaccinations, health authorities said Monday.
Investigations were concluded on the eight people who died within days of receiving AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccines. An epidemiological survey is still under way for three other recipients.
The authorities tentatively concluded that their deaths were highly likely to be connected to their pre-existing conditions.
All the eight people had been in long-term care facilities with pre-existing diseases, such as heart diseases and diabetes, they said. They also did not show any allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, following the inoculation.
The eight people were confirmed to have other symptoms that could lead to death, such as cerebral hemorrhage, cardiac failure and septicemia.
By age, four were in their 50s, two in their 60s and one each in their 20s and 40s. The time between their vaccinations and deaths varied from 22 hours to up to nearly four days.
Health authorities, meanwhile, added that a probe found no critical cases were reported among people who were vaccinated at the same place on the same date with vaccines with the same manufacturing codes.
To determine the exact cause of their deaths, authorities said they plan to conduct autopsies into some of the deaths upon receiving permission from families. Autopsies for four of the eight cases are under way.
Health authorities have been seeking to allay safety concerns raised by the recent deaths of some elderly patients after they were vaccinated against COVID-19.
The authorities said they will continue to conduct epidemiological surveys on any reported death, adding that the safety of the vaccine has been extensively studied in clinical trials.
Health authorities have also said the government will provide adequate compensation for serious side or adverse effects from the scheduled shots. The government will cover costs for hospital stays and other kinds of treatment costs.
A benefit of up to 430 million won (US$388,000) will be provided if someone is severely disabled or dies as a result of taking a COVID-19 vaccine, they said.
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