4th baby dies as Vietnam brings back controversial Quinvaxem

Thanh Nien News

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A baby is vaccinated at Ho Chi Minh City's leading obstetrics hospital Tu Du. Photo courtesy of Dan Tri

A 6-month-old baby died last week after being administered the Dutch vaccine Quinvaxem which has been linked to 11 other infant deaths since late 2012.
The girl from the northern province of Bac Giang, identified only as Vu Dinh Tuong V., died  on March 20, 12 hours after the vaccination at a district medical center, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
She became at least the fourth fatality related to the five-in-one Dutch made vaccine since it was reintroduced last October. 
The Ministry of Health issued a temporary ban on its use last May to investigate into its connection with nine deaths between November 2012 and March 2013, but the World Health Organization (WHO) then confirmed it was safe and pushed a lift of the ban.
V.'s father Vu Van Hiep said the shot was her second one.
She received it at 10 in the morning and began to struggle in the afternoon. She began sweating and her arms and legs turned cold.
She died at Bac Giang General Hospital.
Hiep said the medical record did not state the cause of death, while doctors told him she had inborn heart conditions.
The father said his girl showed no signs of heart problems.
Quinvaxem is a combination vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b infections, given to babies from two months old, three times over two months.
The WHO pre-qualified drug was introduced globally in 2006 by the Netherlands-based bio-pharmaceutical company Crucell. It has been pushed in low-income countries, as it costs around VND77,000 (nearly four US dollars) a dose.
It has been distributed in Vietnam by the Berna Biotech Korea Corporation for free since June 2010 as part of a program run by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization through UNICEF.
Vietnam has been administering around 4.5 million Quinvaxem shots to 1.5 million children every year.
But parents scared by the series of deaths have switched to a safer version that uses the purified whooping cough antigen and costs more.
Other babies that died after the vaccination was resumed were from the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, the north-central Quang Tri Province, and the central highlands resort town of Da Lat. The latter died in January and the others in November.
The health ministry denied the vaccine’s fault in all cases.

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