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VietNamNews

Experts downplay latest vaccination scare

Update: November, 16/2013 - 09:40
Recent reactions recorded after the administration of the Quinvaxem vaccine to babies were within safety limits, confirmed Director of the Preventive Medicine Department Tran Dac Phu.— VNA/VNS Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— Recent reactions recorded after the administration of the Quinvaxem vaccine to babies were within safety limits, confirmed Director of the Preventive Medicine Department Tran Dac Phu.

He was talking to reporters on Thursday in attempt to allay parents' fears following a number of reports of post-vaccination reactions after the vaccine was put back into use again last month.

"Most cases were mild reactions such as fever or swelling around the injection site, while a few babies had shown signs of slight convulsions. All of them were put under strict supervision at local health clinics, and they have all since recovered and been discharged," Phu said.

"The World Health Organisation said that these reactions are normal after a Quinvaxem injection, and still within the safety limits," he said.

A three-year-old child in the central province of Quang Tri died last Sunday after receiving a Quinvaxem vaccine, but test found that the vaccine was not blame, and later attributed the infant's death to a serious case of pneumonia.

The Quinvaxem vaccine was put back into use last month following a five-month suspension. The Health Ministry decided to suspend the vaccine in May pending an investigation following the deaths of nine babies and dozens of severe allergic reactions.

The decision to start using the vaccine again was carefully considered by the ministry after looking at the results of investigations into the safety of the vaccine conducted at home and abroad, he said, adding that all the investigations confirmed the vaccine was safe.

As many as 36 localities have resumed the use of the vaccine so far, and an estimated 300,000 doses have been administered.

There are about 17,000 vaccination centres nationwide, including fixed and mobile centres, Around 400,000 children would be vaccinated each month, according to Health Ministry statistics.

A new vaccination process was being applied, in which medical screenings were being conducted to detect those children who should have the injection delayed, he said.

"The ministry has taken various measures to ensure vaccination safety, such as checking all vaccination centres to ensure they meet basic standards. Only qualified centres are allowed to administer vaccines," he said.

The Quinvaxem vaccine is meant to prevent potentially fatal childhood diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B.

It has been used as part of the expanded immunisation programme in Viet Nam since 2010, and is also used in more than 90 other countries. — VNS

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