A two-month-old baby girl in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap died early Tuesday after being administered a five-in-one Quinvaxem vaccine shot, which became notorious following dozens of infant deaths since late 2012.
Vo Thi Bao Tram received the Quinvaxem shot at a medical center in Truong Xuan Commune in Thap Muoi District on Monday morning, Tuoi Tre reported.
Six hours after being given the shot, Tram developed a slight fever.
Her parents took her back to the medical center, where she was given a fever reducer and sent home.
But her condition didn't improve. At around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday (after midnight Monday) she was rushed to the medical center after turning purple.
The infant died shortly after her arrival.
According to local health authorities, Tram is among 36 infants who received Quinvaxem shots at the Truong Xuan Commune Medical Center on Monday.
Three of the 36 infants developed fever after the shots. Two of the three recovered after being given a fever-reducer.
Dong Thap authorities said an autopsy showed fluid that smelled like milk was found in Tram’s lungs.
Her death remains under investigation.
On May 4, 2013, the Ministry of Health announced the temporary suspension of Quinvaxem, a combination vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B infections.
The suspension followed an increase in the number of reports adverse events following immunization (AEFI) linked to Quinvaxem immunization and, in most instances, oral poliovirus vaccine, including the death of nine infants between November 2012 and March 2013.
The World Health Organization was invited by Vietnamese authorities to review the 43 AEFIs that documented in the country since Quinvaxem was introduced in mid-2010.
After an investigation, it was found that the other serious AEFIs, including those which resulted in fatalities, reported in Vietnam were either coincidental health problems not related to the use of Quinvaxem.
In October 2013, the Ministry of Health resumed the use of Quinvaxem.
Since then, at least five infant deaths (including Tram's) following the vaccinations have been reported, but the ministry has denied a causal link between the shots and the deaths.
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) per dose.
It has been distributed in Vietnam by the Berna Biotech Korea Corp. for free since June 2010 as part of a program run by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization through UNICEF.
Vietnam administers around 4.5 million Quinvaxem shots to 1.5 million children every year.