Nine people have died after reportedly receiving a flu vaccine in South Korea over the past week.
There are now concerns over the vaccine’s safety but authorities so far claim there is no link.
The news comes as the seasonal programme has been expanded to head off potential Covid-19 complications, with countries across the globe preparing for a second wave of coronavirus.
Five new deaths were reported on Wednesday (October 21), however, authorities have no plans to suspend the vaccination programme, Channel News Asia reports.
The programme will only be suspended if investigations, including post mortem examinations, reveal a link between the deaths and vaccine, which preliminary findings have not yet revealed.
Health Official Kim Joong-gon said: “We have reviewed whether it is appropriate to continue the vaccination or better to suspend and wait for the results.
“We came to the conclusion that the deaths had no direct relations with the vaccinations given the limited data we have now and without detailed post mortem reports.”
Joonh-gon told a briefing that a preliminary investigation into six victims showed five had underlying health conditions.
Vice Health Minister, Kim Gang-lip said: “It makes it hard for us to put out a categorical statement.”
Of the deaths, a 17-year-old boy and a man in his 70s have died.
CNA reports the news comes weeks after the rollout of the national vaccine programme was suspended amid safety fears.
Officials announced plans to procure 20 per cent more flu vaccines for winter to inoculate 30 million people, in a bid to prevent the health system being overwhelmed with flu and Covid-19 patients.
The start of the programme, which was set out for 19 million eligible people, was suspended for three weeks after five million doses – needing to be refrigerated – had been found to be exposed to room temperature during transportation.
However, South Korean health authorities said they would press on with a flu vaccine as there was no reason to believe the scheme was linked to the reported deaths.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, the director of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), told a briefing there would be an investigation into the deaths of the people who had received the shots, but the agency had found no reason to suspend the programme.