ALL INDIA DRUG ACTION NETWORK,
- 57, Tejaswinagar, Dharwad 580002,
Tel & fax 0836-2461722
- A-60, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110016,
Date 16th January 2013
OPEN LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR GENERAL, WHO
Dr. Margaret Chan,
The Director General,
Dear Dr Margaret Chan,
All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) is a network of not-for-profit civil society organisations that has been campaigning and working for rational use of medicines, largely in the Indian context. In March last year some of us sent you as DG, WHO an open letter about deaths from Pentavalent vaccine (DPT + Hib + Hepatitis B) which is supported by WHO.
Last week we had another death in Kerala, India after the vaccine. The 47 day old child Akilesh the son of Mr Anil and Liggy Vadekethil received his first dose of the vaccine. He was found dead in bed at 3 AM that night.
The Vietnam Government has stopped the programme with the vaccine after 3 deaths and they have asked the WHO to investigate. Perhaps this will not come up to you but we thought you should know.
This follows a pattern. The vaccine is harmless for the vast majority but in a few, it causes reactions and death. It is wrongly said to be, Sudden Infant Death (SIDS). This was in fact the explanation given by the WHO experts investigating the deaths in Pakistan showing the experts neither understand the cause of the deaths nor the definition of SIDS. Other deaths have been attributed to be anaphylaxis. In the cases of deaths in Sri Lanka the committee of the WHO said that the deaths were ‘unrelated to the vaccine but they could find no other explanation for the deaths’ – thereby contradicting themselves.
There is no way of testing children before they are given this vaccine to know if they will react adversely. Therefore any healthy baby coming for preventive vaccination may be the next victim. This will likely shake the confidence of the public in the entire immunization regime and the steady progress we have been making with routine immunization may be reversed.
A blog in the British Medical Journal has calculated from data gathered from Kerala in the first 6 months of introducing the vaccine in that state, and projected that the vaccine will likely cause 3000 deaths in India each year where a WHO sponsored study showed that the deaths from Hib meningitis is about 175 per year.
This pattern of sudden unexpected death has been seen in many Asian countries besides India and Vietnam in Bhutan , Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, so that it no longer possible to suggest that the deaths were just coincidence.
We did not receive any response to our last letter but as an organisation we feel we must place this information to you so it can be viewed in its entirety rather than piecemeal. It is being placed in a publicly accessible website so it may be used by all for rational decision making. We are concerned that these continuing deaths from a vaccine supported by the WHO will erode not only the credibility of this international organization but also of all vaccines.
Looking forward to your early action in the regard.
1. Dr Mira Shiva, +91 9810582028, mirashiva(at)gmail(dot)com,
2. Dr Anant Phadke, +91 9448442142, anant.phadke(at)gmail(dot)com,
3. Mr Srinivasan S, +91 9448442142, chinusrinivasan.x(at)gmail(dot)com,
4. Dr Gopal Dabade, +91 9448862270, drdabade(at)gmail(dot)com,
5. Mr Naveen Thomas, +919342858056, navthom(at)gmail(dot)com,
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