Deputy Director-General of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Chou Chih-hao (周志浩) said yesterday that no more flu vaccines from the French firm Sanofi-Aventis would be administered until the CDC feels confident that the vaccines are not connected to four recent deaths in Israel.
All four of the dead Israelis were members of the same healthcare organization and were aged between 53 and 76, the Arutz Sheva newspaper reported.
Three of the deaths occurred in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Gat while the fourth occurred in another part of the country.
Israel stopped administering the vaccines after three deaths, but the suspension could be lifted sometime this week.
According to the Haaretz daily, Manfred Green, head of the Israeli Center for Disease Control, confirmed that his office had found no connection between the four deaths and the flu vaccine.
Chou called for the public to continue with their flu vaccination plans as vaccines would be provided by two other companies not affected by the stoppage.
"We are applying the most stringent standards," Chou said. "When it comes to something like vaccines, confidence is absolutely crucial even if the risk is small."
Approximately 42,000 doses of the vaccine from Sanofi-Aventis have already been given this year. Chou said he did not foresee a shortage in vaccines even if the Sanofi-Aventis stock remains out of circulation.