Hepatitis B doses meet shortage in Guangdong

Updated: 2013-12-23 00:56

By Wang Qingyun (China Daily)

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Authorities halt use of problematic products after fourth baby death

Guangdong has purchased 1.45 million doses of hepatitis B vaccine for the province after health authorities halted the use of a vaccine suspected in the deaths of four babies.

A baby boy in Shenzhen died on Tuesday after being inoculated with hepatitis B vaccine produced by Biokangtai, a local pharmaceutical company.

His death was the fourth such recently after babies were inoculated with the hepatitis B vaccine produced by the company, according to China Food and Drug Administration.

Two babies in Hunan province and another in Sichuan province died recently after being injected with the Biokangtai vaccine.

On Friday, the administration and the National Health and Family Planning Commission asked all hospitals to stop using the vaccine produced by Biokangtai, and said it will investigate the cause of the deaths and examine the company's products.

The boy in Shenzhen died at Nanwan People's Hospital in Longgang district the day he was born.

Yang Jinmin, director of the hospital's general office, told China Daily that the baby, who weighed 3.15 kg, started to have difficulty breathing two minutes after his inoculation and died an hour later.

"The baby's family members suspected the vaccine was to blame. We suggested an autopsy and they agreed," Yang said.

Zhang Shiying, director of the vaccination planning department at the city's center for disease control and prevention, told Shenzhen Evening News there are 60,300 doses of hepatitis B vaccine from the suspect batch and 24,753 people have been injected with vaccine from the batch.

According to the city's health authorities, Biokangtai is the sole provider of hepatitis B vaccine for Shenzhen's free vaccination program.

Yang said his hospital has sealed all hepatitis B vaccines made by Biokangtai and is turning to other companies to ensure babies born to women with the hepatitis B virus are vaccinated as soon as possible.

An anonymous source from the Guangdong Center for Disease Control and Prevention told China Daily that part of the province's latest purchase has arrived. An employee at Biokangtai surnamed Zhou said the company's management is helping national and local authorities with their investigation.