A 2-month-old baby in Hanoi died Friday night after getting a shot of the controversial 5-in-1 vaccine Quinvaxem, and the health authorities once again defended the vaccine’s quality.
Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy director of Hanoi’s health department, suggested that the baby died of anaphylactic shock, a serious condition which happens when one’s body is too sensitive to a kind of drug.
The baby girl received the injection at a local medical center on Thursday morning and she started to have fever and cough a lot in the afternoon, local media reported.
Her parents took her to a district hospital the next morning and to Saint Paul Hospital that night, when doctors said she had died before arrival.
Quinvaxem is a WHO prequalified drug and has been distributed in Vietnam by Berna Biotech Korea Corp since 2010 under a national immunization program sponsored by the global vaccine alliance GAVI. It protects children from two months old against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenza type B.
Babies are given the vaccine for free, but it has lost much of the public trust following at least 23 post-vaccination deaths since 2012. In all the cases, the health authorities said there's no problem with the vaccine's quality and its administration.
The latest incident was the second death in Hanoi in the past three years.
Saint Paul Hospital on the same day received another patient with anaphylactic shock from receiving Quinvaxem, but the baby survives.
Vietnam provides around 5.5 million Quinvaxem shots every year and up to 200,000 of more costly alternatives like the French-made Pentaxim, which costs around US$30 a shot.
Quinvaxem uses whole-cell preparations in its whooping cough component while costly alternatives use purified antigens, which are considered safer, but their supply is limited.