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One more vaccine-related death triggers worries in Vietnam

HANOI, March 21 (Xinhua) -- One more child died early Thursday, 12 hours after receiving Quinvaxem vaccine in Vietnam's northern Bac Giang province, triggering worries among Vietnamese parents over the safety of the vaccine, local press reported on Friday.

Vu Van Hiep, father of the ill-fated victim, told local Tuoi Tre (Youth) online newspaper Friday that his six-month-old girl was vaccinated with "five-in-one" Quinvaxem on Wednesday morning at the commune's healthcare center. In the afternoon, she got cold in her hands and feet, and sweated.

The victim was sent to a hospital in Bac Giang province on the same day in cyanosis condition. The patient died at early hours of Thursday, said her father.

A professional council of the Bac Giang provincial health department is holding a meeting on Friday to find out causes of death after vaccination of the patient, said local Dan Tri ( Knowledge for People) online newspaper on Friday.

This is the 12th death related to Quinvaxem vaccine across the country since the beginning of 2013 and the fourth since the vaccine was reused for Vietnam's National Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI) in October 2013.

The use of the vaccine was stopped in May 2013 after allegedly causing several deaths to pediatric receivers.

Upon the Vietnamese government's request, World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) then co-organized an investigation with international and national independent technical assistance.

In late December 2013, the result of the investigation was released by a joint announcement of WHO and UNICEF in capital Hanoi as saying there is no evidence found between the safety of Quinvaxem and direct or indirect causes to deaths of children after vaccinated.

Since it was included in Vietnam's EPI in June, 2010, the death toll resulting from Quinvaxem among kids has risen to 34 as of March 2014.

In a related movement, Nguyen Tran Hien, director of National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) cum EPI director said on NIHE website on Wednesday that in 2013, the rate of Vietnamese kids under one year old vaccinated with Quinvaxem covered 56 percent of the total children at that age nationwide.

In the first three months of 2014, many parents "avoid" getting their kids vaccinated, said Hien.

Tran Dac Phu, head of General Department of Preventive Medicine under Vietnam's Ministry of Health, said on Wednesday that in order to reduce undesirable response after vaccination, those who are suffering from cough, fever, underweight, allergy or parents with allergy history, serious diseases of heart or brain can delay the vaccination or use other vaccines that are more suitable.

"Prior to vaccination, parents should tell doctors about health history of their kids so that doctors can give suitable indications," said Phu, adding that "We are striving to increase quality of vaccination."

Vietnamese parents are worried over the recent news of the Quinvaxem-related death.

Ngan Nguyen, 26, a mother of a one-year-old boy, told Xinhua on Friday that she stops bringing her son for monthly vaccination at the commune healthcare center as she is afraid of possible dangerous post-vaccination reactions on her son.

"I will choose paid service instead to provide safer vaccine for my son," said Ngan.

A reader named Phan Thi Nhu Nu wrote on local afamily.vn that it is necessary to stop Quinvaxem vaccine as undesirable response resulting from the vaccine occurs so frequently.

Hot Mit, another netizen, said she is so anxious and confused when hearing the news. She will possibly stop the last dose of Quivaxem on her kid.

Nhut, a commenter, said on Tuoi Tre on Friday that this is about life of a human. Nhut urges authorities to put themselves into the position of the victim's parents to prevent such unfortunate results from happening again.

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