Vietnam halts use of virus-contaminated vaccine

TN News

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The Ministry of Health on Friday ordered a halt to diarrhea vaccine Rotarix after European researchers found it contained the DNA of virus that lives on swine.

Truong Quoc Cuong, head of the Drug Administration at the Ministry of Health, said Vietnam would stop using the product made by British drug company GlaxoSmithKline temporarily as a matter of safety, according to newswire Dan Tri.

The ordered instructs medical shops and vaccination stations around the country to not provide Rotarix shots for an unspecific period of time.

The administration has asked the GSK office in Vietnam to inform its distributors and stations using the vaccine of the order and ask them to preserve the drug until it reaches its expiry date.

GSK Vietnam was asked to report on its export and distribution of the vaccine to the department this month.

It is not known if the PCV-1 virus will cause diseases in either animals or humans. But the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said viral DNA shouldn't be present in the vaccine while the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended its medical officials to stop using Rotarix for a while.

Officials from EMA, FDA and the World Health Organization plan to meet to discuss the issue.

Rotarix is given by mouth to children from six weeks onwards to treat the viral infection rotavirus, which causes diarrhea and vomiting.

The vaccine was approved in Vietnam in 2007 and 155,000 shots have been given since August that year. It is not part of the National Vaccination Program.

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