Quang Tri suspends Hepatitis B vaccinations after three babies die

VietNamNet Bridge – The Department of Health of Quang Tri Province has asked clinics and health stations to stop using the hepatitis B vaccine that is in the same batch with the vaccine related to the death of three infants in Huong Hoa district.

Hepatitis B vaccinations, quang tri, infant

An infant is brought home for burial.

On July 20, three infants at the hospital of Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, died only ten minutes after being vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine.

The Ministry of Health on July 21 sent a group of experts to Quang Tri to investigate the case.

Dr. Nguyen Van Man, a senior researcher at the Center for Research and Manufacturing of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, said that the death of the three babies cannot be concluded until the vaccine and the vaccination process is checked. "However, three infants died at the same time, at the same place, after being injected with the same vaccine, and it is a very worrisome problem," Man said.

Dr. Nguyen Tien Dung, Head of the Pediatrics Ward of Bach Mai Hospital, said: "According to regulations of the national immunization program, the hepatitis B vaccine must be given to infants within 24 hours after birth. However, before the injection, infants should be carefully examined to ensure that the babies are healthy at the time of vaccination."

Another pediatrician in Hanoi said that it is unnecessary to vaccinate this type of vaccine to all infants and after birth. The infant can be vaccinated with hepatitis B in the first month.

Another expert said that hepatitis B vaccination is necessary because of the prevalence of this virus in Vietnam is high. The injection within 24 hours after birth is necessary to protect the immunization longer. It is also recommended by the World Health Organization.

According to this expert, this is benign vaccine; the mortality rate is very low. The above incident is very rare so the authorities should review the entire vaccination process, vaccine quality, vaccine preservation, etc.

In 2005, a number of children died after hepatitis B vaccinations. At that time, despite the definite conclusion that the deaths were not related to the vaccine, many hospitals stopped postpartum vaccination.

Many people were afraid to give the injection to their children. Consequently, the rate of hepatitis B vaccination for infants within 24 hours of birth significantly reduced. In 2005, the vaccination rate was over 60 percent but in 2011 it was less than 20 percent. Recently, this rate tends to inch up.

According to the World Health Organization, hepatitis B vaccine is a safe vaccine. The rate of complications after injection is 1-2 out of one million doses compared to 2-5 in a million doses for other vaccines.

Vietnam has high rate of hepatitis B virus carriers, with 10-20 percent of the population. Hepatitis B vaccination in the first 24 hours after birth will help prevent the risk of infection in infants for approximately 85 percent.

Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent infection, even after exposure to the virus. The virus can be transmitted from mother to child, between family members (through contact with body fluids) and by sex.

Le Ha

Hepatitis B vaccinations, quang tri, infant