Opposition is mounting in many developing countries against the use of pentavalent, or five-in-one, vaccines, which are being aggressively pushed by health authorities as a public health requirement. Reports indicate that an increasing number of mostly infants are dying not long after receiving the controversial jab, which is said to trigger an immune response to five different diseases in a single vaccine.
For instance, V.S. Achuthanandan, the Leader of the Opposition in Kerala, India, recently stated publicly that pentavalent vaccines should no longer be included as part of the government’s immunization program. Joining a chorus of opposition that recently erupted into a wave of protests, Achuthanandan referenced the many babies who have died following the vaccine as evidence that it should no longer be administered as part of the standard vaccination schedule.
These statements come as India’s central government gears up to expand the pentavalent vaccine program to another 11 Indian states, according to Health.India.com. Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, admitting that there has been a noticeable increase in adverse events following administration of the vaccine for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B and Hib, claims this damage is not a result of the vaccine.
But many others disagree, including Dr. Jacob Puliyel, a pediatrician and member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization. He told reporters that, contrary to what the Indian government is claiming, many of the deaths that have occurred following the administration of pentavalent vaccines show clear signs of a causal relationship.
“The deaths associated with this vaccine have been sporadic… and follows the pattern of anaphylaxis reactions,” stated Dr. Puliyel. “[I]f a drug is known to have caused this form of fatal reaction, it is not permissible to give it without doing sensitivity testing… which is not carried out in the case of pentavalent…. Trivialising all these deaths as coincidental amounts to obscuring the real picture.”
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