South Korea suspended its naitonal plan for free flu shots on Tuesday (September 22) after reported problems with storing the vaccines while they were being transported.
It's a serious disruption to the country's plans to preemptively ease the burden on its healthcare system, already strained by a fresh wave of coronavirus outbreaks.
The country had planned to start giving the free shots on Tuesday to some 19 million eligible people.
The head of South Korea's disease prevention agency, Jeong Eun-Kyeong:
"The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) decided to temporarily suspend the country's influenza vaccination programs until the quality is verified, after a reported case of the influenza vaccines that were exposed to inadequate refrigeration temperature during distribution."
South Korea, which has seen a spike in coronavirus cases since August, planned to procure 20 percent more flu vaccines this winter than the year prior to reduce the risk of people contracting the flu and COVID-19 simultaneously.
It was not immediately known how many vaccine doses were botched, and authorities are looking into the entire batch of five million shots that were scheduled for distribution Tuesday.
Jeong added that some 118,000 people have gotten the flu shots already and no adverse effects have been reported so far.