The Centers for Disease Control yesterday denied that the illness of a man hospitalized in intensive care with pneumonia could be linked to side effects from an influenza vaccination he received this month.
A 57-year-old Bunun man named Tama Talum received a flu shot at a health bureau in Taitung County on Oct. 12.
Two days later he began to suffer muscle pains and developed a cough, and three days later began suffering from diarrhea, the CDC said.
He sought medical treatment on Oct. 19, but the following day he began to have difficulty breathing and was taken to an emergency room, where doctors discovered he had pulmonary infiltrates and sent him to the intensive care unit.
His family members said they thought he was suffering side effects from the vaccine.
CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) yesterday said that he had discussed the case with National Taiwan University Hospital superintendent Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), Taiwan Immunization Vision and Strategy Director-General Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎), Wang’s attending physician and a few infectious diseases specialists.
“Our preliminary conclusion is that he has a chronic disease, which weakened his immune system, so he developed pneumonia for an unknown reason, but not from getting the flu vaccination,” Chuang said.
“The case has been reported with idiopathic pneumonia, and the cause of it is has yet to be determined,” he said, adding that specialists will try to clarify the cause as soon as possible.
“A flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine,” Chuang said. “The only possible side effects from the vaccine is redness and swelling at the area of injection, muscle pain or an allergic reaction, but it will not cause pneumonia.”
As of Saturday, 50 cases of serious flu complications had been reported between July 1 and Friday, and most of the patients in those cases had the influenza A (H3N2) virus, the CDC said.
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