Italy Suspends Novartis Flu Vaccine After Reports of 12 Deaths

iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) — Italy has suspended a flu vaccine produced by the Swiss company Novartis after several people died after receiving the vaccine.

Italian health officials stressed that the suspending the vaccine is a precautionary move until tests results on Tuesdays either verify or discount a link between the vaccine and the deaths.

The number of deaths is now up to 12.

Novartis says there is no evidence the vaccine, known as Fluad, caused the deaths.

Italy’s pharmeceutical watchdog first identified two batches of the vaccine after three people died within 48 hours of receiving the shot, but are now investigating six batches.

Most of those who died following getting the shot are elderly.

Despite concern over the vaccine, authorities stress the importance of vaccines to preventing influenza, which kills 8,000 a year in Italy.

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