Millennium Post

WHO accused of promoting ‘deadly’ vaccine for kids

A leading journal of medical ethics has charged the World Health Organization (WHO) with promoting the Pentavalent vaccine in countries, including India, though it is known to have caused adverse reactions and deaths in children. In a hard-hitting editorial, the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics (IJME), has accused the WHO of promoting the vaccine ‘by stating falsely that no adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) has ever been reported with the vaccine’.

The Pentavalent vaccine combines the Diphtheria, Pertusis, Tetanus or DPT vaccine - used in national immunisation programmes - with Hepatitis-B and H influenza-b or Hib vaccine. This combination vaccine is not licensed for use by the US Food and Drug Administration nor is it used in other developed countries, the editorial says. But WHO recommends it in developing countries.

The IJME editorial by Jacob Puliyel, head of paediatrics at St. Stephen’s Hospital in New Delhi, is based on his investigation into the deaths of children in Bhutan, Sri Lanka, India and Vietnam following the use of Pentavalent vaccine.
It says on 4 May, Vietnam’s health ministry suspended Quinvaxem - the Pentavalent combination used in that country - after 12 deaths and nine non-fatal serious adverse events. According to local news reports, all the babies who died were in good health prior to vaccination.

WHO, which investigated the incident, said the deaths were not vaccine-related and asserted that ‘Quinvaxem was prequalified by WHO and no fatal adverse event following immunisation has
ever been associated with this vaccine’.

The editorial points out that WHO had not disputed the death of 12 children soon after immunisation.
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