Vietnam nurse arrested for fatal vaccine injections

By Thanh Nien News, TN News

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The family of a newborn who died after being given a hepatitis B vaccine shot in Quang Tri Province mourns the death July 20, 2013 / File photo
Police in the north-central province of Quang Tri have arrested a nurse who gave hepatitis B vaccine injections to three newborns that led to their deaths last year.
Nguyen Thi Thuan, a nurse at Huong Hoa District General Hospital, was arrested Wednesday and will be detained for four months for investigations into manslaughter charges, Van Thanh, the hospital’s director, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper.
The police also searched Thuan’s house the same day.
On July 20 last year, Thuan, who had worked as a nurse for more than 20 years, gave three hepatitis B vaccine injections to three newborns at the hospital.
The newborns turned blue and had difficulty breathing 30 minutes after getting the shots.
They were rushed to the emergency ward, but doctors failed to resuscitate them.
A report by the hospital said the newborns died from shock after the vaccine injections.
Thuan was suspended after the incident, but local police failed to find evidence to link her to the deaths and she was allowed to go back to work more than six months later.
Unnamed sources on the internet said the hospital had a power outage the day Thuan gave the shots to the babies. 
Thuan had used the light from her mobile phone to find the vaccine and then gave the wrong shots, leading to the deaths, they said. 
Quang Tri authorities denied the allegations.
Thuan herself also denied the allegation.
The Quang Tri Health Department said the vaccines given to the babies belonged to batches produced by the Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 under Ministry of Health in September 2012.
The hospital received the vaccines, which have an expiry date of July 18, 2015.
The hepatitis B vaccine is usually administered to babies within 24 hours after their birth. Under the national vaccination program it has been given for free since 1997.
This is the first of four shots that each Vietnamese baby is given, with the second, third and fourth administered when the baby is two, three and four months old respectively, according to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.
According to news reports, about 10 babies died in 2007 after receiving hepatitis B vaccinations.

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