Central experts give clean chit to pentavalent vaccine

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 14, 2013 16:50 hrs

Srinagar, Oct 14 (IANS) A central team of experts assisting local authorities in Jammu and Kashmir probing allegations that pentavalent vaccine caused the death of at least eight infants in the Valley said Monday that it was not the vaccine that caused the deaths.

The infants had severe infection, and the vaccine had nothing to do with the deaths, the team said.

The chairman of the Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) committee of the government of India Narendra K. Arora Monday told reporters in Srinagar: "The pentavalent vaccine is not responsible for the recent deaths of children which occurred in the G.B. Pant Hospital."

He said immunisation is a preventive measure and before the pentavalent vaccine is given, clinical examination of the child is conducted.

"The government of India constituted a team of experts to investigate the cause of death of children, the team has checked the records not only at the G.B. Pant Hospital, but also in various districts, and taken stock of laboratories where clinical tests are done. The team came to the conclusion that the deaths have not occurred due to pentavalent vaccine, but due to some inherent vulnerability to various diseases," Arora said.

Giving details of the supplies of the pentavalent vaccine, the chairman of the AEFI committee said that around 2.5 lakh doses of pentavalent vaccine were administered to children at the national level, and the children are safe.

The expert committee members, who arrived here Saturday, helped in probing allegations that eight infants had died in some Valley hospitals after they were given the pentavalent vaccine for protection against tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis-B, diphtheria and Hib (haemophilus influenza type-B).

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