- May 24, 2020
Death of high school student after receiving flu vaccine caused by sodium nitrate poisoning, police say
Authorities say no issue with effectiveness or safety of free vaccines
The death of a third-year high school student in Incheon who passed away after receiving an influenza vaccination was found to be caused by sodium nitrite poisoning unrelated to the vaccine, police announced. The flu vaccine, which was subject to a full-scale recall after the discovery of white particles in it, has not been found to have any issues in terms of effectiveness or safety.
Incheon’s Michuhol Police Station announced on Oct. 27 that “an autopsy performed by the National Forensic Service found lethal quantities of sodium nitrite [4-6 grams for an adult] in the body of the late student.” The student, who was 17, was found dead in his home on the morning of Oct. 16, a day after receiving a free flu vaccination on Oct. 14. Sodium nitrite is a common food additive used to preserve the color of meat when making processed items such as ham or sausage. It is highly toxic and can produce carcinogens when combined with other substances; the consumption of large quantities can be fatal.
The police announced that the student was confirmed to have recently purchased sodium nitrite, adding that the exact time and place of the purchase were still under investigation and could not be disclosed.
Stating that the cause of death “was determined to be unrelated to the flu vaccination or homicide,” a source with police added, “We’ve had difficulties analyzing [the student’s] search history because we’ve been unable to unlock his mobile devices.” The police suspect that the student committed