Vaccine Case Filed with India Supreme Court

September 2, 2013

3 Sep (NEW DELHI, INDIA) – Last July, a leading Indian  journal of medical ethics charged the World Health Organization (WHO) with promoting a vaccine whose use has been discontinued in some countries  following adverse reactions and deaths in children.  In a hard hitting editorial, the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics (IJME) has accused the WHO of promoting Pentavalent vaccine “by stating falsely that no adverse event following immunization (AEFI) has ever been reported with the vaccine.”  The journal says this is contrary to facts.


Dr. Yogesh Jain MD is a Public Health Physician at the Jan Swasthya Sahyog (JSS) in Bilaspur District Chhattisgarh. He is a former Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi. He is a member of the high level expert group of the Planning Commission to develop a blue print for universal health coverage.

In a recent filing against the “Union Of India And Others,” Dr. Jain has filed public interest litigation to the Supreme Court of India in the wake of infant deaths from the Pentavalent Vaccine, a five-in-one vaccine administered in India. The vaccine is banned in Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Japan where, in developing countries, the vaccine has led to deaths in Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. The government of Vietnam discontinued the Pentavalent vaccine after three deaths in November 2012, Bhutan withdrew the Vaccine after eight deaths and Sri Lanka suspended the vaccine after fatalities occurred. While these governments have taken action, the Union of India has failed to respond to this crisis and have actually expanded Pentavalent administration programmes in India resulting in new infant deaths.

Although other governments have taken swift action and banned the vaccine, the Government of India launched the vaccine in the Universal Immunization Program (UIP). Their decision was based on the biased and uninformed recommendations of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and was aimed at reducing the burden of HiB related infections. The GAVI Alliance (formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations) also supported the decision and in August 2009 it decided to provide funding worth US$ 165 million to the Government of India to support the introduction of pentavalent vaccine.

To justify introducing the pentavalent vaccine in India, interested parties have exaggerated India’s Hib and Hepatitis B disease burdens. The Expert Group held three meetings on 18th January, 16th February, and 24th March 2010. In these meetings the doctors stressed approving the vaccine at any cost by presenting exaggerated and false information.

Public health experts immediately protested the decision, because the recommendation did not include the conclusions of a multi-center advisory study on the incidence of the disease (Hib). Hib prevalence in India is so low that that it is impossible to justify why the vaccine should be included in the national vaccine policy.

The studies conducted to prove the burden of Hep B in India had serious limitations, making it extremely difficult to generalize the results to the Indian population as a whole. The most scientifically sound study regarding Hep B prevalence in India is the Minz study.

Researcher’s visited homes of 600,000 every 2 weeks for 2 years to determine Hib cases. The study found that seven in every 100,000 children had Hib meningitis. In a birth cohort of 25 million, this vaccine prevents 1,750 cases of Hib meningitis.

This study, ignored by the Respondents, shows that this vaccine is not required in the Public Immunization Programme at all.

OMSJ supports Dr. Jain and the People of India in this effort. For more information, see Petition.

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