Infant dies at Mani Majra, UT bans Pentavac vaccine

CHANDIGARH: The UT Drug Controller today banned the sale of vaccine Pentavac pfs across the city (till further orders), a day after a two-month-old infant boy from Mani Majra died within 48 hours of administering the vaccine.

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26

The UT Drug Controller today banned the sale of vaccine Pentavac pfs across the city (till further orders), a day after a two-month-old infant boy from Mani Majra died within 48 hours of administering the vaccine.

The fear of the pentavalent vaccine that struck the city two years ago after the death of an infant in a similar manner has resurfaced with the drug controller seizing all samples of the vaccine from the chemist shop at the PGI. The entire batch of the vaccine has been recalled.

“Though no complaint has been given by the family, we have seized the samples of the vaccine and will send it for examination to the Central Drug Laboratory at the Central Research Institute (CRI), Kasauli. Until the report is released, the link between the vaccination and baby’s death cannot be clearly established,” said UT Director

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Health Services (DHS), Dr VK Gagneja.

The infant’s mother, Anju Bala, reportedly took him to a private practioner in Mani Majra, after he appeared sluggish and drowsy, from there he was referred to the Government Hospital in Mani Majra and further referred to the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, where he was declared brought dead. The baby’s postmortem  examination was conducted, but no exact cause of death could be ascertained. 

“Our team comprising the District Immunisation Officer and a pediatrician today visited the family in Mani Majra to probe the matter. They will provide the report tomorrow,” said District Health and Family Welfare Officer, Dr Soma Rani. 

Experts said that the vaccine, if defective, mostly reacts within six hours of the vaccination, but as per protocol, the vaccine sample needs to be examined even after a death is reported a month after the vaccination.

Two years ago, a two-month-old from Halo Majra had died in a similar manner after being given the pentavalent vaccine of a different brand. The time lapse between his death and vaccination was 16 hours. After a ban of over a month, the pentavalent vaccine was given a clean chit by the Director Controller General of India (DCGI).

What is a pentavalent vaccine? 

It is a combination of five individual vaccines that protect infants against deadly infections, including haemophilus influenza, cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and diptheria. The vaccine was officially launched by the Union Health Ministry last year and made mandatory in India.

Earlier too, deaths have been reported 

The pentavalent vaccine has remained mired in controversies due to deaths reported in Pakistan, Tamil Nadu, Vietnam, Kerala and Bhutan.

Cold chain maintained, says chemist 

“Our cold chain of the Pentavac vaccine was properly maintained,” said US Gupta, the owner of the chemist shop from where the vaccine was purchased.

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