No direct link between vaccines and death of children in Japan

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A panel of experts at Japan’s health ministry found no direct link between vaccines made by Pfizer Inc and Sanofi-Aventis and the deaths of children, but said further checks were needed.

The ministry halted the use of Pfizer’s Prevenar and Sanofi’s ActHIB vaccines in response to the deaths of four children shortly after receiving the vaccines.

U.S. health officials have said they were aware of the deaths in Japan but have not seen any such safety concerns in the United States.

Three of the children that died in Japan were administered Prevenar together with ActHIB. In addition, three of the children also received a mixed vaccine against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus on the same day they received the other vaccines.

Three of the four children died a day after being immunized. The deaths happened between March 2 and March 4.

Representatives for Pfizer and Sanofi in Tokyo have said the companies were cooperating with the investigation.

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