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8 infants die after receiving hepatitis B vaccine

12-26-2013 07:21 BJT

Following the suspicious deaths of eight infants who received hepatitis B vaccinations, China’s top health and drug authorities launched an investigation to see if the vaccines were tainted. However, the vaccine’s maker released a statement to clarify suspicions on the safety of its products.

Hunan, Sichuan, and Guangdong. Eight infants died within hours, or even minutes after receiving Hepatitis B vaccines. The deaths have raised concerns nationwide about the safety of vaccines.

"We are very worried about the safety of anything used on my child." Local resident in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, said.

BioKangtai, the maker of the vaccines in question, issued an online statement as the first cases were reported, saying the infant deaths were a coincidence.

"According to our quality check, there is nothing wrong with our product safety." Zhu Zhengyu, quality control manger of Shenzhen Biokangtai Company Ltd., said.

When CCTV reporters went to the company for a second interview as the number of deaths rose, they were denied access.

"We don’t know the reason, but we have been informed that no more interviews are allowed." Security staff of Shenzhen Biokangtai Company Ltd., said.

However, experts were quick to argue that it’s still too early to jump to any conclusion.

"The vaccine provider has no right to decide if the infant deaths are accidents or not. It is very very rare for infants to die just minutes and hours after receiving a vaccine. So we need to seriously look into the case." Zeng Guang, researcher of Chinese Center of Disease Control & Prevention, said.

The drug supervision department in Shenzhen says their test results indicate the vaccines were safe.

"According to our investigation, BioKangtai has produced the vaccine strictly under required standards. And their samples have passed our tests." Wang Lifeng with Drug Administration of Shenzhen said.

But higher authorities are still waiting for more results.

"It takes around 20 days for the test results of vaccines to come out. And the autopsy on the infants will take around 45 days." Li Quanle with National Health & Family Planning Commission, said.

As the investigation continues, medical experts are reminding parents that infants don’t need to receive hepatitis B vaccines immediately after being born. They say it’s ok for parents to wait until the investigation results come out, before deciding whether they want to use the vaccines or not.

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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