China's push to raise manufacturing standards was always likely to result in a few hiccups as companies raced to bring production plants into line with new regulations. And with the deadline for producers of injectables now having passed, it appears the hepatitis B vaccine market faces a tricky few months.
Health authorities in China are investigating one of the nation’s biggest vaccine makers after eight infants died in the past two months following injections that were meant to immunize them against hepatitis B.
The government said this week that it had suspended the use of millions of doses of a hepatitis B vaccine produced by the manufacturer, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products. Government inspectors have been sent to examine the company’s facilities.
Many vaccines, such as those for Hep A and B, HPV, MMR and rabies, need several booster doses to achieve maximal immunological protection. Booster doses add to the complexity of vaccine administration, especially when used in large vaccination campaigns in the developing world.
Low immunization coverage is the cause of persistence of many vaccine preventable diseases in Pakistan. Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) was initiated in Pakistan in 1978 with the collaboration of WHO and UNICEF.
"The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) was established in 1999 to respond promptly, efficiently, and with scientific rigour to vaccine safety issues of potential global importance.
The Committee provides independent, authoritative, scientific advice to WHO on vaccine safety issues of global or regional concern with the potential to affect in the short or long term national immunization programmes."