China: Hepatitis B vaccine scare intensifies amid infant deaths

China: Hepatitis B vaccine scare intensifies amid infant deaths
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There are calls within China for tough action to be taken after up to eight babies died following vaccinations against hepatitis B.

As investigations continue, authorities have already suspended use of the vaccine at the centre of the scare, produced by the Chinese drug manufacturer BioKangtai.

Parents are increasingly anxious about taking their children to be immunised as part of a government programme.

Zhou Jianhui, Deputy Chief of the Immunisation Programme at the Jilin Provincial Disease Control and Prevention Centre, said that only a few areas had bought the vaccine.

“We have asked them to report the number of these vaccines used. We will also monitor if they have a bad reaction. So far there is none,” she said.

The firm says it is testing the batches in question but insists it rigorously followed safety rules.

After several scares, many Chinese people are suspicious that the government tries to cover up bad news about health problems, despite assurances of transparency.

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