The frequency of cases of severe side effects detected in the administration of H1N1 vaccines in Japan has been higher than for seasonal flu vaccines said the Japanese Health Ministry.
68 cases of serious side effects were recorded according to a health ministry survey. Eight more deaths were reported outside the survey, bringing the death toll after vaccination to 21.
Although the victims died following vaccination, the committee argued that the vaccines were not necessarily the cause of death. The experts found that in most cases, it was highly likely that they died because the condition of their diseases worsened, they said.
An estimated 9.02 million people in Japan contracted influenza between early July and Nov. 15, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said Friday. Most are believed to have been infected with the H1N1 virus.
An estimated 1.64 million flu sufferers visited hospitals across the country during the week through Nov. 15, up 110,000 from the previous week.
The number of flu patients reported in the week by roughly 5,000 designated medical institutions nationwide rose from 157,626 to 169,095, the institute said.
The institute’s report for the previous week, released Nov. 13, showed a decline in the number of flu cases, apparently because most of the medical institutions were closed Nov. 3, a national holiday.
Of the nation’s 47 prefectures, Aichi topped the latest list with 58.70 people per medical institution, followed by Oita with 53.64 and Ishikawa with 49.77.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said that one in 14 people in Japan are estimated to have visited a hospital due to swine flu between late July and mid-November.
Of the estimated 9.02 million who have contracted influenza, 65, or one in every 140,000 cases, has died, the ministry said.