IPS NEWS. A spate of sudden infant deaths following vaccination in India has prompted leading paediatricians to call for stronger regulatory mechanisms to evaluate new vaccines for safety and efficacy before their acceptance into the national immunisation programme.
Text: Ranjit Devraj, slightly edited | IPS News
According to data obtained from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, over the last one year 54 babies are recorded to have died soon after receiving the newly introduced “pentavalent” vaccine that is designed to prevent infection by five disease-causing microbes.
Dr. Jacob Puliyel, who heads paediatrics at the St. Stephen’s Hospital says the government must publish information about a vaccine under consideration for inclusion in vaccination schedules. Stakeholders, including patient groups, health professionals, academic institutions, vaccine companies and organisations like the WHO and GAVI can then register their interest.
Transparent processes would gain the confidence of the public, which is vital in any mass immunisation programme, Puliyel says.