A five-month-old infant boy died on Feb. 12-13, 2020 within hours of receiving the “5-in-1” pentavalent (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B) vaccine at a vaccination clinic in Arani, India.1 2
After he was vaccinated by the health nurse at the clinic, the boy was sent home with his parents. According to the child’s uncle, “An otherwise healthy baby, Litish became restless after the vaccination and also developed fever. At night, after feeding him, Tamil (the mother) left him in the cloth cradle. When she saw him the next day, he was lying motionless.”1 2
The infant was rushed to the nearby Nesal Primary Health Center (PHC) but he was pronounced dead on arrival by the center’s medical officer. The branch medical officer who read a copy of the post-mortem attributed the death to respiratory distress. “The same batch of vaccines were given to several hundred children,” the medical officer said. “In the same PHC, the nurse has given the vaccine to eight other infants. There were no adverse reports.”1 2
The pentavalent vaccine was introduced into India’s routine vaccination schedule for children during 2014-2015. The vaccine, which comes in vials of 10 doses each, is scheduled to be given to children three separate times—at six weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks of age.3 4
Pentavalent vaccines in India are manufactured by four pharmaceutical companies, including Serum Institute (Pentavac PFS), Panacea Biotecs (Easyfive TT), Biological E (ComBE Five) and Shantha Biotechnics (Shan5).5
Over the past two years, there have been numerous reports of babies dying or becoming seriously ill in India soon after receiving the pentavalent vaccine. Another recent case involved a three-month-old infant boy who died on Feb. 6, 2020 after receiving the pentavalent vaccine at a government health center in Ramgarh.5 6 7 8 9
1 Marx K. Infant dies post-vaccination, family alleges medical negligence. The Times of India Feb. 13, 2020.
2 Marx K. Tamil Nadu: Panic as infant dies after vaccination at PHC. The Times of India Feb. 14, 2020.
3 Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Pentavalent vaccine introductions represent historic milestone for immunisation in India.
4 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Pentavalent Vaccine. Government of India 2012.
5 TVR Staff. Baby Girl in India Dies Day After Getting the Pentavalent Vaccine. The Vaccine Reaction July 3, 2019.
6 TVR Staff. Infant Boy in India Falls Unconscious and Dies After Vaccination. The Vaccine Reaction July 27, 2019.
7 TVR Staff. Infant Girl in India Dies Day After Receiving Oral Polio and Pentavalent Vaccines. The Vaccine Reaction Sept. 11, 2019.
8 TVR Staff. Infant Boy in India Dies Day After Receiving Pentavalent Vaccine. The Vaccine Reaction Feb. 27, 2020.
9 TVR Staff. Infant Boy in India Dies After Getting Pentavalent Vaccine. The Vaccine Reaction Mar. 10, 2020.