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Three die after routine flu vaccine in Italy

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Italy’s annual flu vaccine programme has been hit by the deaths of three people after they were vaccinated.

Batches of the vaccine – Fluad, manufactured by Novartis – have been withdrawn following the deaths of two women, aged 79 and 87, and one man, aged 68. Another man, aged 92, is seriously ill in hospital after he was vaccinated.

Health officials in Italy have urged calm, and are encouraging older people to continue having the vaccination. Novartis has claimed the deaths are coincidental and haven’t been caused by the vaccine.

Fluad isn’t used in the UK’s flu vaccine programme.

The news couldn’t come at a worse time for Novartis. It’s busy offloading its flu vaccination business to Australian pharmaceutical CSL, and the rest of its vaccine division to the UK’s drug company, GlaxoSmithKline.

(Source: Daily Telegraph, November 29, 2014)

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