Sunday March 24, 2019

Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

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the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
The team found that implementing comprehensive blood safety and infection control measures was estimated to reduce the number of new infections in 2030 by 58 per cent.
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

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According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS

Next Story

Netflix Testing New Mobile-only Subscription Plan For India

However, since this is a test, not all users would be able to be part of the new plan and it is also possible that Netflix could decide on not making it a permanent option after all

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Netflix declined to share what other countries would be involved in the test besides India. Pixabay

In India and other select countries, content-streaming platform Netflix is testing a new mobile-only subscription plan that would only cost users $3.63 a month (Rs 251).

The basic Netflix streaming plan in India starts from $7.27 (Rs 500) and the test plan would slash the existing subscription plan exactly by half.

“We will be testing different options in select countries, where members can, for example, watch Netflix on their mobile device for a lower price and subscribe in shorter increments of time,” The Verge quoted Netflix as saying on Friday.

Although it remains unclear as of now, but the statement from the content-streaming platform hints that it could start offering weekly or bi-weekly subscription options alongside or instead of monthly plans.

Netflix
The test in India makes sense, given that Netflix has already expressed interest in the country, the report said. Pixabay

Netflix declined to share what other countries would be involved in the test besides India.

The test in India makes sense, given that Netflix has already expressed interest in the country, the report said.

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Last week, Todd Yellin, Product Vice President at Netflix gave a keynote in Mumbai addressing company’s future plans of expanding interactive TV shows and Netflix original content from India on its platform.

However, since this is a test, not all users would be able to be part of the new plan and it is also possible that Netflix could decide on not making it a permanent option after all. (IANS)