Hyderabad: Allaying fears over the vaccine,Andhra Pradesh Health Minister D Nagender Thursday said that thehuman pappiloma virus (HPV) vaccine being administered forprevention of cervical cancer in Khammam district was safe. Addressing media persons, Nagender said the deaths ofthree girls reported in the district were coincidental and notassociated with the HPV vaccine.
"The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS)has summarized available data on the safety of HPV vaccinesand determined that the vaccines are safe and the benefits ofHPV vaccination far outweigh the risks," he said. The vaccines were given as per a project beingimplemented by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR),governments of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh in collaborationwith the international non-profit organization PATH, he said. The newspaper also published what it described was apartial list of vaccine victims aged between 2-17. Chen blamed abuse of power and corruption by local healthauthorities but the MOH said it had launched an investigationinto the case, which was closed in November 2008. It found that the sampled vaccines met national standards. The four who died after being administered taintedvaccines were 9-month-old Wang Xiao`er and 8-month-old LiuZiyang from Luliang city; and 3-year-old Wang Shichao and LiuYi from Yangquan city, the report said. Children from 74 families were crippled or developedserious diseases such as encephalitis after being vaccinatedagainst hepatitis B, rabies, and type-B encephalitis, it said. Wang Mingliang, the father of Wang Xiao`er, told thenewspaper that his only son died in August 2008, about sevenmonths after being vaccinated against hepatitis B. The boy had fever and convulsions a week after thevaccination but hospitals in the province and Beijing couldnot find the cause, he said. Chen said he believed it was tainted vaccine that causedthe child`s death. "Vaccines which should have been kept refrigeratedaccording to regulations were found to be piled up innon-air-conditioned buildings," Chen told the paper. "Spoiled vaccines should have been destroyed according toregulations on vaccine safety but they were still used," hesaid. Law experts said if that proved true, it would betantamount to a criminal case. PTI