Vaccines under investigation

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Nov 3: The vaccines named ‘pentavalent vaccines’ are being used in Bhutan to immunize newborn infants against pneumonia and meningitis but have proven themselves detrimental to child health. 

At least five infants have already died due to the complications developed following side effects of the vaccines. The health ministry circulated alerts on October 23 to all hospitals in the country to stop using the vaccines after reports of serious side effects came to limelight.

A ten week old baby at Samtse hospital died after second dose of the vaccine.

However, a two month old baby referred to Thimphu hospital from Gelephu at critical condition following the administration of first dose of vaccine was recovered.

The pentavlent vaccine is given to new born babies in three doses when they are six, ten and fourteen weeks old.

It is a combination of vaccines for diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, and hepatitis-B and haemophilus influenza type B 

Experts from World Health Organization are investigating the causes of death cross-checking all details of storage, batch number, expiry date, the handling of vaccines. 

‘Vaccinated infants are also being reviewed for the symptoms, time and place of vaccination,’ according to a member of investigating team.

Bhutan received a total of 30, 200 vaccines from Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative which can vaccinate 1100 babies.