Sunday, July 31, 2016

Vietnam - 4-month-old baby dies after Quinvaxem shot in southern Vietnam

A 4-month-old baby in the southern province of Ben Tre died Friday, four days after getting a shot of the controversial 5-in-1 vaccine Quinvaxem, local media reported Saturday.

The baby received the shot at a local medical center in Chau Thanh District’s Phu Tuc Commune on Monday morning and started to have difficulty breathing the next morning, Tuoi Tre newspaper said.

The parents brought the baby to Chau Thanh General Hospital and then Nguyen Dinh Chieu Hospital.

The baby fell into a coma and was put on a ventilator on Wednesday, before being taken home Friday noon after doctors had exhausted all options.

The baby died on Friday afternoon.

Authorities said they are investigating into the case.

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 24 post-vaccination deaths since 2012. In all the cases, the health authorities said there was no problem with the vaccine's quality and its administration.

Vietnam provides around 5.5 million Quinvaxem shots every year and up to 200,000 of more expensive 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.

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