Jacob Puliyel | FirstPost | 19 October 2013
On October 11, two children died in Kashmir after receiving the Pentavalent vaccine, taking to six the total deaths there in one week and to eight the deaths over the last three weeks. According to reports appearing in local newspapers, the deaths were said to be an allergic reaction to the vaccine. These deaths come on the heels of a press release from the health ministry on October 10 that a committee that looked into the 15 deaths in Kerala after vaccinations has said they were not caused by the vaccine but were coincidental deaths. The press release also announced that the Pentavalent vaccine is to be rolled out nationwide. A week earlier, another ministry spokesperson had admitted there had been 29 deaths all over the country following the vaccine. The figure has now ballooned to 37.
The 29 deaths had happened when 82 lakh doses have been administered (and about 27 lakh children have been immunized). This works out to more than one death per 100,000 vaccinated and that 300 children would die each year from the vaccine when the birth cohort is vaccinated. It must be borne in mind that the adverse events are picked up by a system of passive surveillance which according to the US FDA picks up only a tenth of the real number of adverse events.