Vietnamese medical experts are investigating the cases of two infants who died this month receiving a combination vaccine, according to the Department of Preventive Health.
It said initial findings concluded that the babies did not die directly from Quinvaxem, a vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib).
However, the vaccine's quality has yet to be confirmed or whether it being administered provoked innate diseases which led to the deaths, said the department with the Health Ministry, adding that one of the babies had a congenital heart defect and the other had Down syndrome another congenital condition.
The Quinvaxem in question was made the Berna Biotech Korea Corporation (South Korea), according to the decision issued by the ministry on November 6 to license the vaccine.
One of the babies, a three-month-old infant from the central resort town of Da Lat, died on November 16, after being hospitalized at Lam Dong General Hospital the night before.
The infant turned blue and went into shock when being admitted to the hospital. His heart rate was 160 beats per minute, while the standard heart rate for infants between three and six months old is 90-120 beats per minute.
Dr. Dang Ba Soai, chief of the hospital's Pediatrics Department, told Thanh Nien that the baby went into shock as the result of a lung infection.
According to Chu The Vinh, director of Da Lat Town Health Center, the baby had been vaccinated at Ward 9's health clinic on November 15, adding that as of the incident, 123 local children had received the same vaccination there.
He said all the babies had their health checked before being vaccinated, and those who were overtly ill or whose health was questionable, were ruled ineligible for the vaccination.
Meanwhile, the other baby in the central province of Thanh Hoa, two-month-old Nguyen Nhat Huy, began foaming at the mouth roughly six hours after receiving the vaccine at the Thach Tuong Commune health clinic on November 12, Dan Tri quoted his parents as saying on Tuesday.
He also had also turned blue and suffered from severe respiratory difficulties, prompting his family to rush him to the health clinic, the news website reported.
It said after administering Huy's emergency care for two hours, doctors there transferred him to Cam Thuy District General Hospital, from which he was transferred to Ngoc Lac District's General Hospital.
At Ngoc Lac Hospital, the baby's body turned pink, and he was transferred yet again the next day, this time to Thanh Hoa Children Hospital, after doctors at Ngoc Lac diagnosed him with acute respiratory failure.
However, at the children's hospital, doctors said the baby had a congenital heart disease and a malformed diaphragm, and that those conditions rendered him untreatable, suggesting his family bring him home, reported Dan Tri.
The boy died on his way home.
Speaking to Dan Tri, Dr. Le Tat Hai, director of Thanh Hoa Children's Hospital, said: "Incurable birth defects led to the boy's death, not the vaccine."
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