No link found with vaccines and China children’s deaths

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(AP)

No link has been found between the vaccines and the deaths of children in China who received hepatitis B shots, a World Heath Organization (WHO) expert said on Friday In Beijing.

The death cases are still under investigation but until now the acquired evidence shows that the country’s hepatitis B vaccines are safe.

Lahouari Belgharbi, a scientist from the WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, made these points during an interview with CCTV on Friday.

“So far, we are with my colleagues here from the WHO office. The main message is that there is actually no evidences that support that there is an issue with the products that have been distributed to the news, and related to the events that have been documented recently,” he said.

China’s investigations on vaccine deaths are in accordance with the WHO standards, Fabio Scano, a WHO medical officer with the TB program in China said.

“I like to emphasize that the steps we are taking in the investigation are in line with WHO recommendation, and we’re happy to be working together with the last two couple of days to review the finding of the joint investigation by CFDA and the commission,” said Fabio Scano.

The WHO experts also gave praises to the Chinese government, saying they “reacted very promptly”.

“Within the first reported case, action has been taken to initiate the field investigations, to document all this information, to bring it to different levels of management, of the organization up to top,” said Belgharbi.

The hepatitis B vaccination program is vital in safeguarding Chinese children against the illness, said Scano, who also called on the public to keep their confidence on vaccines.

“It is crucial to reassure the public and also parents’ confidence in vaccine program of hepatitis B that as definitely one of the most successful public programs in China and that has prevented millions of hepatitis B infections over the last two decades,” said Scano.

There have been 17 deaths following BioKangtai vaccinations reported between Dec. 13 and 31, and most of the deaths were reported to be associated with vaccinations from products made in Shenzhen by the BioKangtai biotech firm.

The use of all BioKangtai hepatitis B vaccines has now been suspended nationwide.

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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