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Four deaths cause halt of flu vaccination in Israel

A spokeswoman reported that Israeli Health Ministry had suspended flu vaccine administration on Sunday following the deaths of 3 people who were inoculated. According to// the Israeli media, the fourth death was reported later.

'The ministry is investigating whether the deaths are connected to the vaccines,' said Inbal Jacobs, a ministry spokeswoman. According to the Israel Radio, the 3 deaths reported in the last few days were from a southern Israeli town of Kiryat Gat. All the 3 of them were already suffering from diseases.

At a news conference, Heath Minister Yaakov Ben-Yizri said, 'They were suffering from various illnesses, so that the team that has checked it so far has not found any connection between this tragedy and the vaccinations.' The fourth person, who died on Sunday after receiving a flu shot, belonged to a different region of Israel and had been suffering from a chronic illness.

The report says that more than 1,40,000 Israelis, at high or very high risk of complications from the flu were vaccinated in the last few weeks. The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis manufactured the vaccine and the Israeli company Medici distributed it. The company has been asked by the Health Ministry to examine its laboratories, reports Israel's Army Radio.

According to Israel's Channel 10 TV report of a Health Ministry meeting, the direct association of the deaths with the vaccines is unlikely and vaccination may be resumed from today.

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